Pierre Soulages

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Pierre Soulages is a renowned and notable French painter, who has been one of primary and significant contributor of Abstract art. Soulages has served as one of the pioneering abstractionists at the School of Paris.

Pierre Soulages was born on December 24, 1919, in Rodez, France. From a very young age, Pierre exhibited extraordinary artistic talent for drawing and painting, along with a profound appreciation for art that was inspired by the historically rich culture and abundant Romanesque artefacts that are a prominent feature of Rodez. In 1938, Soulages graduated from high school and decided to move to Paris to pursue his education and training in art in the art capital of Europe.

In Paris, Pierre enrolled himself at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, where he pursued his education and training in painting. However, soon he became increasingly disappointed by the curriculum that was being taught and the styles that were being encouraged at the Ecole. He discontinued his studies at the Ecole, and immersed himself in studying the work of other great artists. He attended the exhibitions of famous and illustrious painters such as Pablo Picasso and Paul Cezanne. Soon after, Pierre decided to return to his hometown of Rodez.

With the outbreak of WWII, Pierre enlisted himself in the French army in 1939, he served the army for a year. Disillusioned and depressed by the horrors of the war, in 1940, Pierre retired in Montpellier and decided to become a farmer. He worked as a farmer for the next five years, and during this period, he did not pick up a brush or look at canvas with the intention of filling it with colors. He dedicated his time to devouring huge volumes of French poetry.

It was during this phase of his estrangement from art that he encountered the notable painter, Sonia Delaunay, and it was during this meeting that he first came across his one true vocation in life, abstract painting. In 1946, he officially began his career, and along with his wife, he moved to Paris. He devoted his time to his work, and soon his bold and lush strokes of the brush became to garner immense critical acclaim and commercial success for their expansive black and white abstractions.

Pierre’s talent was self-taught through immersive and dedicated study along with experimentation that taught him how to fully engage all his talent and potential to express his art and passion with bold strokes of the brush forming intensely expressive abstract patterns on the canvas. His art was unique, and even though Pierre ranks amongst the pioneer abstractionists and his work includes become some of the iconic and remarkable examples of Abstract art, his work was not inspired by any artistic movement nor was it compliant to any rules posed by a particular style.

In 1949, Pierre showcased his work in his first solo exhibition that was held in Paris. In 1953, he was awarded a prize at the Sao Paulo Biennial. Currently, he resides and Paris and conducts extensive travels all over the world to exhibit his art and give lectures at prominent art institutes.

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