What a joy it will be to finally see you again at Art Basel, an event we have attended without fail for fifty years! We thank you for your loyalty, and hope that despite the difficulties of recent times the pleasure of meeting up and talking about art will once again be a happy moment to be shared.
This year we present works by Auguste Herbin (1882–1960), Victor Vasarely (1906–1997), Jean Dewasne (1921–1999), and, for our contemporary section, a group of works by Jean-François Dubreuil and Hans-Jörg Glattfelder, among others.
These leading artists of the gallery feature extensively in the collection of Anne and Jean-Claude Lahumière, and represent an important foundation of the collection. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of our participation in this event, it seemed appropriate for us to propose an exemplary selection of work by each of these artists.
More specifically, we will present a variation on the Days of the Week series by Auguste Herbin, ranging from preparatory drawings to gouache works and paintings on canvas. Herbin formulated a "plastic alphabet" that captivated many artists of the next generation, including Victor Vasarely, who was deeply inspired by Herbin when he developed his own alphabet, named "plastic units." We will also be exhibiting a number of works from this period.
In Paris in the 1950s, Herbin was a figure whom today we could call the "Number 1 Influencer" due to his extremely forthright, even daring, approach to color and the system he devised for his "plastic alphabet," which connected letters with pure geometric forms, colors, and musical notes. All of the European artists of this period knew about Herbin, with Jean Tinguely dedicating a sculpture to him, baptized Méta-Herbin. Aurélie Nemours also dedicated a work to him that depicts a sprinkling of geometric forms against a black background, while Olle Baertling visited the artist and expressed his admiration for him, as did Belgian artist Joe Delahaut.
Jean Dewasne, too, was obviously familiar with Herbin’s work and admired the artist. It was Dewasne who influenced Anne and Jean-Claude Lahumière in their decision to champion geometric abstraction. The gallerists frequented the artist when they first started out in their profession. Initially publishers, they produced Dewasne’s first series of prints, which they presented at the first edition of Art Basel, attracting the attention of Harald Szeemann. Dewasne represented France at the 1968 Venice Biennale.
Dewasne also developed a strong interest in architecture, and his final large-scale Antisculpture, as he called these works (also the name given to his painted motorcycle panels), filled the entire interior wall space of the Grande Arche de la Défense in Paris.
Moreover, we should not forget the visit by Renzo Piano and Richard Rodgers to Dewasne’s studio that led them to change their minds about the colors to be used on the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Thanks to Dewasne (and his "Dewasne blue"), the museum donned a facade of bright colors—if this had not happened, it would have remained gray!