Meet Simon Hantaï who would have turned 100 in 2022

The artist who created an innovative painting technique in the 60s is hosting an unprecedented retrospective in Paris today

Simon Hantaï
Simon Hantaï painting a “Tabula”, Meun, 1975. Photo: Édouard Boubat.

Famous for his kaleidoscopic works, Simon Hantaï (1922–2008) was a pioneer in creating the technique of “pliage”, which consists of kneading and knotting the fabric of the canvas, painting it uniformly, and then reopening it revealing an abstract painting where background and figure are combined. one thing. 

Hantaï was born and raised in Hungary, where he studied visual arts, but it was in Paris that his career took off. Having moved to the French city on a scholarship, he met several surrealist artists, among them André Breton, who dedicated his first Parisian personal exhibition to her at the gallery “A l'Etoile seale”. 

Simon Hantaï
Simon Hantaï folding a “Tabula”, Meun, 1975. Photo: Édouard Boubat.

The Hungarian artist even associated with the group creating several fantastic paintings with animal themes, but quickly his surrealist ideals were broken when he came into contact with the production of Jackson Pollock few years later. The so-called “action-paintings” and the work of the abstract expressionists directly influenced the turn in his production towards abstraction on a monumental scale. Thus, when creating “pliage” in the 1960s, Hantaï conceived a marriage between surrealist automatism, activating the unconscious, and the generalized gestures of abstract expressionism.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, he enjoyed growing recognition in France and even acquired French citizenship, which culminated in his selection as the country's representative in the Venice Biennale 1982. However, months after this major milestone in his career, Hantaï withdrew from the public eye. More than a decade after his self-imposed retreat, he held few exhibitions showing new work, but generally chose to remain more reclusive until his death in 2008. 

Simon Hantaï
View of the “Simon Hantaï – Centenary Exhibition” at the Louis Vuitton Foundation. © Fondation Louis Vuitton

If you are interested in the artist's work and will be in Paris in the coming weeks, take note of our golden tip. To commemorate the centenary of Hantaï, an unprecedented retrospective exhibition curated by Anne Baldassari is on display at Fondation Louis Vuitton🇧🇷 The exhibition brings together more than 150 works, many of which have never been exhibited before, in addition to the production of other great names that influenced Hantaï's career.


Simon Hantaï – The centenary exhibition

Location: Louis Vuitton Foundation

Address: 8 Av. du Mahatma Gandhi, 75016 – Paris, France

Date: Until August 29, 2022

Opening hours: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 11 am to 8 pm; on Fridays, from 11 am to 9 pm; on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 8 pm. 

Ticket: 5-16 euros

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