The last of the 200 French and Russian masterpieces by the Morozov brothers, exhibited in Paris from September to April, left France by truck at the end of the month and returned to Russia "without problem", with the exception of three paintings seized by the French state: two as part of international sanctions against Russian assets and another as a security measure at the request of the Ukrainian authorities, the Foundation told AFP.

The new exhibition, which runs until August 29, is organized in homage to the painter Simon Hantaï, born in 1922 in Hungary in a small village near Budapest, and who settled in 1948 in Paris, where he produced all of his work.

It brings together around 150 paintings, mostly in very large formats, almost half of which have never been shown.

They testify to the painter's radical plastic research from the end of the 1950s to 2004, according to Anne Baldassari, curator of the exhibition.

Retrospective of the French painter of Hungarian origin Simon Hantaï at the Louis Vuitton Foundation, May 17, 2022 in Paris BERTRAND GUAY AFP

Some works by Henri Matisse and Jackson Pollock, which influenced his work, are exhibited alongside a vast panorama of his creation presented over 2,700 m2.

- "Paint at all costs" -

Trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest, Simon Hantaï publicly opposed the Nazi invasion in 1944, before being imprisoned and managing to escape.

An "uncompromising" artist, embodying "the freedom to paint at all costs, a project for which he paid a high price by evading the canvas and the artistic process and completely erasing his ego", told AFP Anne Baldassari.

"He distanced himself from virtuosity, acquired knowledge, the skilful hand".

Retrospective of the French painter of Hungarian origin Simon Hantaï at the Louis Vuitton Foundation, May 17, 2022 in Paris BERTRAND GUAY AFP

"And also with the art world and institutions to the point of withdrawing completely from public life from 1982, without however ceasing to paint", adds his eldest son, Daniel Hantaï, who contributed with the ensemble of his family to the conception of the retrospective of the painter, who died in 2008.

It begins with his pictorial experiments from 1949 to 1957 and "the big book of small paintings", executed mainly on paper and which condense his personal research and his surrealist period, a movement with which he broke in 1955.

Retrospective of the French painter of Hungarian origin Simon Hantaï at the Louis Vuitton Foundation, May 17, 2022 in Paris BERTRAND GUAY AFP

There follows a room dedicated to the years 1957 to 1959, where the artist, Catholic and believer, reduces to a few essential signs the random expressionist gestures borrowed from Jackson Pollocks.

Retrospective of the French painter of Hungarian origin Simon Hantaï at the Louis Vuitton Foundation, May 17, 2022 in Paris BERTRAND GUAY AFP

We find the oval, the circle and the cross with inks that mingle with oil on linen canvas and gold leaf.

- The art of folding -

In 1960, he inaugurated the series of "Mariales", abstract and polychrome paintings in homage to the Madonnas of the Italian Renaissance, which would become the art of "folding as a method".

A "revolution", according to the curator: by spreading her canvases on the ground before folding, pleating, crumpling and brushing them with paint, then unfolding, flattening and smoothing them until they look like leather wax.

Retrospective of the French painter of Hungarian origin Simon Hantaï at the Louis Vuitton Foundation, May 17, 2022 in Paris BERTRAND GUAY AFP

Follow the series of "Catamurons" (1963-1965), polychrome in blue, black and brown and the "Panses" where the white canvas encircles a mass of colors, assimilated by the artist to the "cellular universe" of the living world. .

After having lived in Paris and a reduced studio in the 17th arrondissement, Simon Hantaï went into exile near Fontainebleau with his family in the hamlet of Meun, whose name inspired him to create another series of folded paintings.

Retrospective of the French painter of Hungarian origin Simon Hantaï at the Louis Vuitton Foundation, May 17, 2022 in Paris BERTRAND GUAY AFP

The exhibition ends with "Le Dernier Atelier", the "Tabulas", a series of white-on-white paintings and the "Buées" and "Suaires", a work on canvas prints of digital shots with almost transparent images.

© 2022 AFP

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