Claude Viallat (1936)
Born in 1936 in Nîmes, Claude Viallat studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Montpellier and then at the École supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He trained in the studio of French painter Raymond Leguelt.
Claude Viallat became passionate about colour very early. As soon as by 1966, his painting technique was to mark the canvas on the ground, in reaction to Lyrical Abstraction. In 1969, he became one of the founding members of the ‘Supports/Surfaces’ movement, which aimed to challenge the usage of traditional materials in art. The movement sought to bring about a profound renewal of artistic practice. Viallat also painted abstract forms on industrial tarpaulin and used umbrellas, fabrics, and ropes as support. He questioned the status of a work of art by repeating the same form indefatigably. For him, the subject is not what is important.
In the 1969 exhibition catalogue La peinture en question, Louis Cane, Daniel Dezeuze, Patrick Saytour, and Claude Viallat explain their vision of painting. ‘Painting is a fact in itself, and it is on these grounds that we must ask the questions’, they wrote. ‘It is neither a return to the roots, nor a search for an original purity, but the simple exposure of the pictorial elements that constitute the pictorial fact. Hence the neutrality of the works presented, their lack of lyricism and expressive depth.’ Viallat left the movement in 1971 but remained faithful to this philosophy.
In addition to his painting activities, Viallat taught in art schools in Nice, Limoges, Marseille, and Paris. In 1979, he became Director of the École des Beaux-Arts in Nîmes. Outside of painting, he also created objects by assembling pieces of fabrics, ropes, and wood. In 1982, the Musée National d’Art Moderne hosted a major retrospective of his work. Six years later the artist represented France at the Venice Biennale.
In 2013 he paid homage to Matisse with an exhibition at Galerie Catherine Issert in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. ‘What matters’, explained Claude Viallat, ‘is how the colours play with those that are underneath; how intuitively yet unintentionally, unplanned, I manage to organise a surface in density, in intensity.’
His works have been exhibited throughout the world, in Europe, America, and Asia.
(Pauline Le Gall)read more >>
read more >>
Art works from Claude Viallat
You may also be interested in…