Jean Dewasne or rational abstraction

Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris

ActualitéDu 10 juin 2022 au 25 février 2023

Born in Lille in 1921. Jean Dewasne is considered one of the masters of constructive abstraction. He followed very advanced classical and musical studies then enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris where he attended architecture workshops for two years before turning to painting. In 1950, he participated with Auguste Herbin in the creation of the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles.

In 1951, he produced his first Antisculpture : a curved or hollowed volume covered with industrial paint. He is attracted by the shine and matt effects of industrial paint (glycerophtalic lacquer, lacquers, cold enamel), supports (aluminum, hardboard, metal surfaces such as car or truck chassis, etc.) and claims the status of "painter of the industrial age". He uses geometric abstract shapes in intense colors, with an emphasis on primary colors. Like his friend Victor Vasarely, Jean Dewasne develops a rational quasi-mathematical work that he calls “plastic sets” without however locking himself into circles, squares and triangles.
Recognized for his large, eminently modern mural and monumental compositions, linked to architectural and urban projects, he was responsible for the colorization of the Center Pompidou (1970), various decorations for Renault’s head office (1975), metro stations in Hanover (1975) and Rome (2000), and the monumental frescoes of the Grande Arche de la Défense (1989).
In 2011, his work and his archives were the subject of a donation to the State which transferred ownership of the works of Jean Dewasne to numerous French museums including the Museum of Modern Art in Paris which, in the past, devoted two exhibitions to him in 1969 “Dewasne : mural paintings” and in 1975 “Dewasne : Antisculptures Brains Males”, at the ARC.

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Jean Dewasne

Jean Dewasne

Incantation lyrique 1969 laque sur panneau 121 x 180 cm

Jean Dewasne or rational abstraction. Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris