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Pierre Soulages
Pierre Soulages, 1919

Pierre Soulages (born Rodez 1919) was inspired by Romanesque art, as well as the deep luxurious blacks of Manet, in the evolution of his mature works in the 1950s, which featured strong geometric and interlocking forms against a lighter background. In 1979 he took a distinctive turn and started making paintings entirely from swathes of thick impastoed black paint which he calls “ultra black”, or outrenoir paintings – because of the effects of luminosity and colour from the glossy surface which is cut, marked and striated to increase the drama of reflected light. In 2009 Soulages was the subject of a major retrospective at the Pompidou Centre and a museum devoted to his work opened in his hometown of Rodez in May 2014.

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Pierre Soulages – Timothy Taylor