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Home > Current events > GENEVIÈVE ASSE



The search for purity and light by one of the greatest contemporary artists

Geneviève Asse, Transparence Bleue, Blue Transparency, 1971,
Oil on canvas, 81 x 60 cm, Artist's collection



Esplanade Marcel Duchamp
76000 ROUEN


Tel: 02 35 71 28 40 Fax: 02 35 15 43 23


Every day from 10: 00 AM to 6: 00 PM
Closed on Tuesdays


Permanent collection: full rate 4.5 €
Reduced rate 3 €.
Permanent collection + exhibition: full rate 6 €
Reduced rate 4 €


Virgil Langlade, in charge of communication
Marine Lutz, communication assistant
Thomas Fournet, representative

Born in 1923, a friend of Poliakoff, of de Staël and of Beckett, marked by the war (she was an ambulance woman in the Ist armored division in WW II), Geneviève Asse, one of the greatest living painters, has produced engravings as well as stained glass windows or motives for famous fashion houses or brands of material. Very few artists, in France in any case, have followed the path of pure painting without any protocol or hidden purposes, avoiding the many traps that through the XXth century could have deterred her.

An exhibition designed with the artist

Geneviève Asse’s determination is unwavering and her ambition and sincerity as vast as the fields of light that fill her paintings. The artist has elaborated her own proper abstract language. The undecipherable technique of her practically monochrome paintings draws the spectator who stops long enough in front of them into a real state of contemplation. Far from suggesting a new retrospective of this immense production, constantly in development and impossible to embrace in one single swoop, the exhibition rests on choices clearly made with the artist.

Gigantic manifestos

The most ambitious works, gigantic formats and radical solutions, including paintings that have not been shown very often, appear as a series of manifestos. The exhibition insists in particular on the large «white» works that marked the exit from figuration as early as the 1950s, pulling her last remains of landscapes and still- lives into a flow of light. The surface, animated at first by angles, the space opening in the manner of a window or of an architecture, progressively leave way to a strange pictorial field, between vibrant energy and absolute calmness. The sensuality of the matter, the irrepressible evocations of the natural elements and the sea atmospheres are opposed by the unreal purity of the surfaces and the rigor of the horizontal or vertical cuts.

The quest for blue

Along the various paintings, we witness the moment in which, in an almost alchemical sense of the word, the artist obtains her own color, the blue progressively conquered beyond the white, undoubtedly richer in light and spirit, and which has become her immediately recognizable brand. One of the keys of this tension between the sensitive world and severe abstraction resides in poetry, the permanent companion of an artist who has paid magnificent tributes in her canvases to poets, from Samuel Beckett to Victor Ségalen, to whom she dedicated the seven huge Steles painted between 1992 and 1999, and that close the exhibition space to better open it.

Illustration: Nature morte à l’éventail, boîte et objets, Still life with a fan, box and objects, 1956, 116 x 81 cm, Private Collection


Exhibition catalogue Texts by Laurent Salomé and Charles Arthur Boyer
Photographies by Jean-François Bauret and Jacques Renoir 23 x 28 cm,150 pages, 80 illustrations Copublished by Musée des Beaux Arts de Rouen and Éditions Somogy ISBN 9782757203354 Broché : 28€

To see more illustrations, click on VERSION FRANCAISE at the top of this page

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