Translated and edited from a chronology by Camille Morando, PhD, Head of Information and Research on Modern Collections at the MNAM–CCI / Centre Pompidou and Professor at L’École du Louvre.


Pierre Soulages is born at 4 rue Combarel in Rodez, France, on December 24.

Postcard of Rodez, early 20th century


Centennial of the birth of Gustave Courbet (1819–1877) in Ornans, France.
The Musée de Grenoble, founded in 1798, becomes the first modern art museum in France.
In Paris, Galerie Charpentier debuts, and Musée du Louvre gradually reopens following its closure in the early months of the First World War.
The Bauhaus is founded in Weimar, Germany; the teachers at this avant-garde school will include Paul Klee (1879–1940), Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944), and Josef Albers (1888–1976).

On June 28, Germany and the Allied powers sign the Treaty of Versailles, marking the end of the First World War.

David Lloyd George, Vittorio Orlando, Georges Clemenceau, and Woodrow Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919
Archival photograph of Pierre Soulages, c. 1930
Courtesy Soulages Archives, Paris


Zao Wou-Ki (1920–2013) is born in Beijing, China.
The Petit Palais in Paris (inaugurated in 1900) reopens after shuttering during the First World War.


Georges Mathieu (1921–2012) is born in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France.

The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded to Albert Einstein (1879–1955) for his contributions to Theoretical Physics, particularly for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.


Tutankhamun’s tomb is discovered in Valley of the Kings, Egypt.

After the March on Rome, founder of the National Fascist Party Benito Mussolini (1883–1945) becomes the Prime Minister of Italy.
Creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), which will dissolve in 1991.


Foundation of the Bal Nègre, a cabaret, dancehall, and jazz club in Paris.
André Breton (1896–1966) publishes the Manifeste du surréalisme (Surrealist Manifesto).

Cover of La Révolution Surréaliste, no. 1, December 1924


At the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Josephine Baker (1906–1975) is La Revue Nègre’s opening act, accompanied by jazz musician Sidney Bechet, among others.

Commercialization of the first Leica compact camera in Leipzig, Germany.


Opening of the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris with the inauguration of the large-format Les Nymphéas (Water Lilies) paintings by Claude Monet (1840–1926).

View of Claude Monet’s Les Nymphéas (Water Lilies) at the Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris, 1930
© Albert Harlingue/Roger-Viollet


Birth of Yves Klein (1928–1962) in Nice, France.
Foundation of the Salon des Surindépendants in Paris.


Gustave Courbet exhibition opens at the Petit Palais, Paris.
In New York, the Museum of Modern Art opens under the direction of Alfred H. Barr Jr. (1902–1981) and is located at various sites before permanently settling on 53rd Street in 1939.

Crash of the stock market on New York’s Wall Street, signaling the beginning of the Great Depression.

Front page of the New York Times, October 30, 1929
From The New York Times. © 1929 The New York Times Company. All rights reserved. Used under license.


Between 1931 and 1932, Soulages makes his first visit to the Abbey Church of Sainte-Foy in Conques, France, which will become a significant site for the artist.

Pierre Soulages, c. 1932
Courtesy Soulages Archives, Paris


Soulages begins painting in Rodez.

Abbey Church of Sainte-Foy, Conques, early- to mid-20th century/Pierre Soulages painting outdoors, Rodez, 1935–36
Photo by Rene MALTETE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images/Courtesy Soulages Archives, Paris


In September, Soulages begins to study at the painting studio of René Jaudon (1889–1966) in Paris and visits the Musée du Louvre, the Musée de l’Orangerie, and the Petit Palais.


In February and March, Soulages visits exhibitions of works by Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) and Paul Cézanne (1839–1906) at Galerie Paul Rosenberg, Paris. In April, he is admitted to the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. Disappointed by his experience there, he returns to Rodez.



The Abstraction-Création group is formed in Paris by Auguste Herbin (1882–1960), Jean Hélion (1904–1987), and Georges Vantongerloo (1886–1965).
Alexander Calder (1898–1976) exhibits his first abstract sculptures at Galerie Percier, Paris.
Hans Hartung (1904–1989) mounts his first solo exhibition at Galerie Kühl, Dresden.
Opening of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Mao Zedong (1893–1976) creates the Chinese Soviet Republic.


Opening of the Musée des Écoles Étrangères Contemporaines (Museum of Contemporary Foreign Schools) section at the Jeu de Paume in Paris.


Permanent closure of the Bauhaus, now located in Berlin, by the Nazi Party.
Mark Rothko (1903–1970) opens his first solo exhibition, at the Portland Art Museum in Oregon; months later, another is held at Contemporary Arts Gallery, New York.

Appointment of Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) as Chancellor of the Weimar Republic in Germany; beginning of the Third Reich.
In response to the threat posed by the Third Reich and Imperial Japan, the United States and the USSR establish diplomatic relations.


In Paris, a parliamentary crisis follows violent right-wing demonstrations.
Socialist and anarchist insurrections erupt in Spain, particularly in Catalonia.


James Johnson Sweeney (1900–1986) becomes curator of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, where he remains until 1946; later he is appointed director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (1952–60).
Death of Kazimir Malevich (1879–1935) in Leningrad, USSR.

British physicist Robert Watson-Watt (1892–1973) produces the first practical radar system.


The groundbreaking exhibition Cubism and Abstract Art opens at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Claude Viallat is born in Nîmes, France.

Start of the Moscow Trials during the Great Purge organized by Joseph Stalin (1878–1953).
Victory of the Popular Front in the French general election.

Start of the Spanish Civil War, which will end with the victory of Francisco Franco (1892–1975) in 1939.
Declaration of the Rome-Berlin Axis, followed by the ratification of the Anti-Comintern Pact between Germany and Imperial Japan, signed by Italy in 1937 and by Spain in 1939.


Opening of the Musée Fenaille, famous for its collection of statue-menhirs, in Rodez.
The Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (International Exposition of Art and Technology in Modern Life) is held in Paris, with the construction of the Palais de Tokyo prefiguring two modern art museums: a national museum, which becomes the Musée National d’Art Moderne (1947), and a municipal museum, which becomes the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1961).
The exhibition Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art), featuring modern works denounced and confiscated from museums by the Nazi Party, opens in Munich before traveling throughout Germany.

Bombing of the town of Guernica, Spain.
Inauguration of the Golden Gate Bridge, then the world’s longest suspended bridge, in San Francisco.

View of the Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) exhibition, Munich, 1937
Credit: Scherl/Süddeutsche Zeitung Photo/TopFoto
Pablo Picasso, Guernica, 1937. Oil on canvas, 137½ × 305¾ inches (349.3 × 776.6 cm). Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid
Courtesy Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid


In Paris, the Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme (International Surrealist Exhibition) takes place at Galerie des Beaux-Arts, and Galerie Louis Carré opens.

Germany annexes Austria.
After the Sudeten crisis in Czechoslovakia, the Munich Agreement is signed by Germany, France, Great Britain, and Italy.


Evacuation of the Musée du Louvre collection to the castles of Chambord, Valençay, and others.

Centenary exhibition of Cézanne’s work is held at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon.

Germany and the USSR sign the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
Start of the Second World War, which continues until 1945.


In June, after his baccalaureate, Soulages is mobilized and dispatched first to Bordeaux and then to the Chantiers de la Jeunesse paramilitary organization in Nyons.


At the start of the year, Soulages is demobilized and settles in Montpellier, France, to prepare for the exam that will allow him to work as an art teacher. There, he enrolls at the École des Beaux-Arts, where he meets Colette Llaurens, whom he will marry in 1942. He visits the Musée Fabre in Montpellier and is inspired by the works of Spanish painters and Gustave Courbet.

Archival photograph of Pierre and Colette Soulages, c. 1946
Courtesy Soulages Archives, Paris


At the end of the year, to resist mandatory conscription, Soulages obtains false identity papers and becomes a manager at the Mas de La Valsière vineyard near Montpellier. He meets his neighbors, French writer Joseph Delteil (1894–1978) and his American wife, Caroline Dudley Reagan, who managed La Revue Nègre in Paris in 1925.


Joseph Delteil introduces Soulages to Sonia Delaunay (1885–1979).


In June, after being mobilized during the liberation of France, Soulages visits Toulouse, where he meets the French writer Jean Cassou (1897–1986). At the end of the year, he returns to La Valsière to work as a winemaker.


By the winter, painting becomes of prime importance to Soulages.

Pierre Soulages, Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone, c. 1942
Courtesy Soulages Archives, Paris


In March, Pierre and Colette Soulages move to Courbevoie, near Paris. Soulages spends time with artists Francis Bott (1904–1998), Henri Goetz (1909–1989), and Christine Boumeester (1904–1971), as well as poet Édouard Jaguer (1924–2006). He also meets Alexander Calder. The Salon d’Automne in Paris refuses the work Soulages sends for exhibition.

Pierre and Colette Soulages’s home at 3 rue Camille Saint-Saëns, Courbevoie, 1946
Courtesy Soulages Archives, Paris


Soulages exhibits at the Salon des Surindépendants in Paris, where he meets artists Roberta González (1908–1976) and Hans Hartung, who become his friends. Francis Picabia (1879–1953) describes one of Soulages’s works as the best painting in the Salon. Soulages moves to rue Victor Schoelcher in the 14th arrondissement.


Soulages meets artists Marie Raymond (1908–1988), Fred Klein (1898–1990), and their son Yves Klein (1928–1962), as well as Jean-Michel Atlan in Paris. Collector Ottomar Domnick (1907–1989) invites Soulages to exhibit his works in Wanderausstellung Französischer Abstrakter Malerei (Traveling Exhibition of French Abstract Painting), which begins in Stuttgart and travels around Germany. Soulages also participates in the exhibition Prises de Terre (Earth Sockets) at Galerie Breteau, Paris, organized by the Revolutionary Surrealists. James Johnson Sweeney, then curator of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, visits Soulages’s studio in Paris.

Pierre and Colette Soulages in his studio, rue Victor Schoelcher, Paris, 1948
Courtesy Soulages Archives, Paris


In Paris, Soulages has his first solo exhibition at Galerie Lydia Conti, and writer Roger Vailland (1907–1965) proposes that Soulages create the scenography for his play Héloïse et Abélard.
Soulages’s work is shown in the US for the first time in Painted in 1949: European and American Painters at Betty Parsons Gallery. The artist gifts Peinture 145 × 97 cm, 1949 to the Musée de Grenoble; it is his first work to enter a museum collection. Soulages meets artist Pierrette Bloch (1928–2017), who becomes a close friend.

Christmas Eve at Hans Hartung’s home, left to right: Marie Raymond, Colette Soulages, Pilar González, Pierre Soulages, and Yves Klein, Arcueil, c. 1948
Photograph by Hans Hartung. Courtesy Soulages Archives, Paris


Discovery of the prehistoric Lascaux cave in Montignac, France; the site officially opens to the public in 1948.
Requisitioned by the Germans, the Jeu de Paume becomes a storage place for works stolen, mainly from Jewish collectors, by the Nazi Party’s cultural property taskforce.
Release of Charlie Chaplin’s film The Great Dictator in New York.

German troops arrive in Paris.
Marshal Philippe Pétain (1856–1951) and Adolf Hitler sign armistice; the occupation of France commences with a northern zone controlled by the German Army and southern one that remains unoccupied, the zone libre.

Room of “Degenerate Art” at the Jeu de Paume, Paris, c. 1942
Archives du ministère des Affaires étrangères, France, c. 1942


The exhibition Abstract Painting: Shapes of Things opens at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Japan enters the Second World War, followed by the US.
Following the discovery of plutonium, the US government initiates the Manhattan Project to create an atomic bomb.


In Paris, Galerie de France opens, and an exhibition of works by Arno Breker (1900–1991), known as “Hitler’s favorite sculptor,” is organized by the German authorities at the Musée de l’Orangerie. Partial opening of the Musée National d’Art Moderne at the Palais de Tokyo.
Birth of Daniel Dezeuze in Alès, France.
The exhibition Artists in Exile is presented at the Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York.

The Wannsee Conference, comprising high-ranking Nazi Party and German government officials, is held in Berlin with the goal to ensure the implementation of the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question.”
The Germans invade France’s unoccupied zone.


Antonin Artaud (1896–1948) is transferred to Paraire psychiatric hospital in Rodez after being institutionalized in 1937.
Henri Matisse (1869–1954) donates the series Thèmes et Variations to the Musée Fabre.
Foundation of the Salon de Mai in Paris.

In New York, an Alexander Calder survey exhibition is held at the Museum of Modern Art and the first solo exhibition of work by Jackson Pollock (1912–1956) is mounted by Peggy Guggenheim (1898–1979) at her Art of This Century gallery.

Alexander Calder installing at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1943
Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY


In Paris, the Salon d’Automne celebrates the liberation with a Pablo Picasso retrospective.
Galerie L’Arc-en-Ciel holds the first exhibition of work by Jean-Michel Atlan (1913–1916).
The first solo exhibition of work by Robert Motherwell (1915–1991) is mounted at Art of This Century.
Deaths of Piet Mondrian (1872–1944) in New York and Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944) in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.

On June 6, D-Day, the Normandy landings begin, and Paris is liberated on August 25.

Henri Cartier-Bresson. France. World War II. Liberation. Paris. 22-25th August. 1st arrondissement. Rue St-Honoré. 1944. Gelatin silver print, 9 ⁷⁄₁₆ × 14 inches (23.9 × 35.6 cm)
Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos


In New York, a Piet Mondrian exhibition is held at the Museum of Modern Art, and Samuel M. Kootz debuts his gallery.
The Musée du Louvre gradually begins to reopen.

Germany surrenders to the Allies.
The US deploys atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.


Publication of the Manifesto Blanco (White Manifesto) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Influenced by Lucio Fontana (1899–1968), the manifesto sets out the ideas of Spatialism, the art movement Fontana would establish in 1947.
In Paris, the Art et Résistance exhibition is held at the Musée National d’Art Moderne, and the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles is created.
Opening of Gimpel Fils gallery, London.
In New York, Betty Parsons Gallery opens, as does the exhibition Fourteen Americans at the Museum of Modern Art.
American art critic Robert M. Coates (1897–1973) coins the term “abstract expressionism” in reference to works by the New York School artists, signaling the center of the international arts scene’s movement from Paris to New York.

ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), the first programmable, general-purpose electronic computer, is completed at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.


In New York, Pablo Picasso exhibits at the Kootz Gallery, and the first of four annual Mark Rothko exhibitions opens at Betty Parsons Gallery.
In Paris, Hans Hartung and Gérard Schneider (1896–1986) mount solo exhibitions at Galerie Lydia Conti, and the Manifeste des Surréalistes-Révolutionnaires en France (Manifesto of the Surrealist-Revolutionaries in France)—signed, among others, by Noël Arnaud (1919–2003), Édouard Jaguer, and René Passeron (1920–2017)—is published.
The Musée National d’Art Moderne, managed by Jean Cassou, officially opens.

Establishment of the Truman Doctrine, which, by declaring the United States will provide military and economic support to all democratic nations threatened by authoritarianism, signals Cold War tensions.


The Venice Biennale’s Grand Prize for painting is awarded to Georges Braque (1882–1963).
In New York, Robert Motherwell initiates a series of works in black and white, Elegy to the Spanish Republic, which he would elaborate until his death in 1991.

Creation of the State of Israel.
Columbia Records introduces the LP vinyl record to the public in New York.


In Paris, the first solo exhibition by Zao Wou-Ki is mounted at Galerie Creuze, and a Fernand Léger (1881–1955) retrospective opens at the Musée National d’Art Moderne.
Mark Rothko initiates his Color Field paintings in New York, and Lucio Fontana continues the Concetti Spaziali (Spatial Concepts) series in Milan.

Mao Zedong proclaims the People’s Republic of China.


Soulages systematizes the format of his titles—Technique dimensions, date—on January 9.


First purchase of Soulages’s work, Peinture 146 × 114 cm, 1950, by the French state, directed by Jean Cassou. It is assigned to the Musée National d’Art Moderne in 1952. Soulages creates his first etchings at Atelier Lacourière-Frélaut in Paris. Louis Carré (1897–1977) exhibits Soulages’s works abroad until 1953. Soulages makes the sets for Le mystère d’Abraham (The Mystery of Abraham) by playwright Fernand Chavannes (1868–1936), choreographed by Janine Charrat (1924–2017).

Pierre Soulages. Peinture 194 x 130 cm, 9 octobre 1957. Oil on canvas. Centre Pompidou, Paris
Pierre Soulages in his atelier, 11 bis Rue Victor Schoelcher, Paris, c. 1950/Courtesy Soulages Archives, Paris


Soulages participates in the 26th Venice Biennale and the exhibition Peintres de la Nouvelle École de Paris (Painters of the New School of Paris) at Galerie de Babylone, Paris. He designs a mobile for the Château d’Amboise on the occasion of the five hundredth birthday of Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519).


Soulages exhibits his etchings at Galerie La Hune, Paris. He participates in the exhibition Younger European Painters at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

View of Younger European Painters, including Peinture 195 x 130 cm, mai 1953, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1953
© Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. All Rights Reserved.


Soulages mounts his first solo exhibition in the US at the Kootz gallery, which becomes the artist’s American representative and will devote eight exhibitions to him through 1965. Alfred H. Barr Jr. and Nelson A. Rockefeller (1908–1979) visit Soulages’s studio in Paris.


Soulages participates in numerous significant group exhibitions: the first edition of Documenta, Kassel; The New Decade: 22 European Painters and Sculptors at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (travels to Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and San Francisco); Phases de l’art contemporain (Phases of Contemporary Art) at Galerie Creuze, Paris; and École de Paris (School of Paris) at Galerie Charpentier, Paris. In London, he mounts a solo exhibition at Gimpel Fils Gallery, which represents him in England until 1975.


Soulages participates in group exhibitions in France and abroad, including Dix ans de peinture française 1945–1955 (Ten Years of French Painting) at the Musée de Grenoble. He has a solo exhibition at Galerie de France, Paris, which marks the start of a partnership.


In Paris, Soulages receives the Windsor Prize and establishes his studio at 48 rue Galande in the 5th arrondissement. He donates Peinture 194 × 130 cm, 9 octobre 1957 to the French state; it enters the collection of the Musée National d’Art Moderne. Heinz Berggruen (1914–2007) organizes a solo exhibition of Soulages’s gouaches and etchings. In November, Pierre and Colette travel to New York for the first time. They meet a number of American artists: William Baziotes (1912–1963), Herbert Ferber (1906–1991), Helen Frankenthaler (1928–2011), Adolph Gottlieb (1903–1974), Philip Guston (1913–1980), Hans Hofmann (1880–1966), Frederick Kiesler (1890–1965), Franz Kline, Ibram Lassaw (1913–2003), Louise Nevelson (1899–1988),
and Mark Tobey (1890–1976), as well as Robert Motherwell and Mark Rothko, with whom they become friends. The couple then travels through the US in the company of Zao Wou-Ki.

Pierre Soulages in his Paris studio, c. 1957
Photograph by Izis Bidermanas. Courtesy Soulages Archives, Paris


Soulages travels to Japan to receive the Tokyo Biennale prize awarded to him the previous year.
The first monograph devoted to his work is written by Belgian poet and critic Hubert Juin (1926–1987).


Soulages receives the Grand Prize for etching at the Ljubljana Bienniale of Graphic Arts in Yugoslavia. He acquires a large piece of land in Sète, France, and designs a new house with a studio, which he completes at the end of 1960.



The Venice Biennale’s Grand Prize for painting is awarded to Henri Matisse.
The first Franz Kline (1910–1962) solo exhibition opens at Charles Egan Gallery.

Franz Kline. High Street, 1950. Oil on canvas, 58 ¹⁄₈ × 77 ¹⁄₂ inches (147.6 × 196.9 cm). Fogg Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge
© The Franz Kline Estate / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College, 1971.121 © 2024 The Franz Kline Estate / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


In New York, Betty Parsons Gallery exhibits paintings by Gérard Schneider and hosts the first Barnett Newman (1905–1970) solo show; the Museum of Modern Art mounts the exhibition Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America.

Installation view of Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America exhibition, Museum of Modern Art, New York
Courtesy Museum of Modern Art, New York


Opening of the Matisse Museum by the artist in his hometown, Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France.
Jackson Pollock exhibition opens at Galerie Paul Facchetti, Paris.
The Venice Biennale’s Grand Prize for sculpture is awarded to Alexander Calder.
The Museum of Non-Objective Painting, founded in 1939 in New York, is renamed the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; it moves to its current location in 1959.

In Paris, Michel Tapié publishes Un art autre où il s’agit de nouveaux dévidages du réel (A different art that involves new unwindings of reality).

IBM launches its first computer, the IBM 701, from its laboratory in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Hans Namuth. Jackson Pollock, 1950. Gelatin silver print, 16 ¹⁄₁₆ × 14 ¹⁄₈ inches (40.8 × 35.9 cm). National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
© 1991 Hans Namuth Estate, Courtesy Center for Creative Photography


In Paris, the exhibition 12 peintres et sculpteurs américains contemporains (12 Contemporary American Painters and Sculptors) opens at the Musée National d’Art Moderne, organized with the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Musée du Louvre inaugurates three paintings by Georges Braque for the ceiling of the King Henri II room. Francis Picabia dies.
Gérard Schneider retrospective at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels.

American biologist James Watson (b. 1928) and British physicist Francis Crick (1916–2004) discover the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
IBM announces the first mass-produced computer, the IBM 650.


At the Venice Biennale, a retrospective exhibition is dedicated to the work of Gustave Courbet, and the Grand Prize for sculpture is awarded to Jean Arp (1886–1966).
Galerie Charpentier, Paris initiates a series of exhibitions devoted to the New or Second School of Paris that will run through 1963.
Death of Henri Matisse in Nice, France.
Georges Mathieu exhibition opens at the Kootz Gallery, New York.
The Art Institute of Chicago holds an exhibition of paintings by Mark Rothko.
Foundation of the Gutai group by Jiro Yoshihara (1905–1972) in Japan.

View of the artists in the first Gutai exhibition, Tokyo, c. 1958
Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka / DNPartcom


Fernand Léger dies in Gif-sur-Yvette, France.
First exhibition of Yves Klein’s monochrome paintings opens at the Club des Solitaires in Paris.

Start of the Vietnam War, which ends in 1975.


In New York, Franz Kline has an exhibition at Sidney Janis Gallery, and Gérard Schneider shows at the Kootz Gallery; the Museum of Modern Art mounts a Jackson Pollock exhibition.

Development of the first transatlantic telephone cable.

Opening of Yves Klein’s Le Vide (The Void), Iris Clert Gallery, Paris, 1958
© Succession Yves Klein c/o Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris 2024


Formation of the Group Zero in Düsseldorf.
Hans Hartung has exhibitions in six German museums and at Kleemann Galleries in New York.
In Paris, Yves Klein finalizes the fabrication of IKB (International Klein Blue). His exhibition Yves Klein: Propositions monochromes is on view simultaneously at Galerie Iris Clert and Galerie Colette Allendy.
Death of Constantin Brancuși (1876–1957) in Paris.
Zao Wou-Ki exhibition opens at Galerie de France, Paris.

The USSR launches the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, followed by Sputnik 2.

Zao Wou-Ki with Pierre Soulages on the island of Kauai, 1958
Courtesy Foundation Zao Wou-Ki


The Venice Biennale’s Grand Prize for painting is awarded to Mark Tobey.
Exhibitions of Franz Kline’s work are held in Rome and Turin.
Yves Klein exhibits Le Vide (The Void) at Galerie Iris Clert.
In New York, Barnett Newman begins the series The Stations of the Cross, which he finishes in 1966.
The New American Painting as Shown in Eight European Countries 1958–1959 exhibition travels to Basel, Milan, Madrid, Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, London, and New York, where it is on view at the Museum of Modern Art in 1959.

Launch of the first successful US satellite Explorer 1.
Election of Charles de Gaulle (1890–1970), President of the Fifth French Republic (1959–69); he appoints André Malraux (1901–1976) as Minister of Cultural Affairs.


The first Robert Motherwell retrospective is mounted at Bennington College, Vermont.
Zao Wou-Ki exhibition opens at Kootz Gallery.

The Russian probe Luna 2 becomes the first spacecraft to land on the moon.


At the end of the year, the first Soulages retrospective opens at the Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover, then travels in Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland through 1961.


Soulages lives and works in both Paris and Sète, France.

Pierre Soulages in his studio, rue Galande, Paris, 1961
Photograph by Izis Bidermanas. Courtesy Soulages Archives, Paris


Soulages retrospective opens at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen.


Soulages receives the Carnegie Prize in Pittsburgh jointly with Ellsworth Kelly (1923–2015), Victor Pasmore (1908–1998), Antonio Saura (1930–1998), Jean Arp (1886–1966), and Eduardo Chillida (1924–2002).


A survey by Arts Magazine ranks Soulages third in a list of the top ten artists under the age of 50 discovered since 1945, including Robert Rauschenberg, Jean Tinguely (1925–1991), Georges Mathieu, Yves Klein, Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928–2000), Bernard Buffet (1928–1999), Paul Guiramand (1926–2007), François Arnal (1924–2012), and César (1921–1998). At the request of German collector Peter Ludwig (1925–1996), Soulages designs a stained-glass window for the Suermondt Ludwig Museum in Aachen, Germany.

View of Soulages at Kootz, Kootz Gallery, New York, 1965
Courtesy Soulages Archives, Paris


Soulages retrospective opens at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where the artist adopts the principle of suspension for large-format works.

View of Pierre Soulages: Retrospective Exhibition, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1966
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Archives


In the spring, Soulages has his first solo exhibition in a French museum at the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris. He receives a commission to produce a ceramic mural for the Oliver Tyrone Corporation in Pittsburgh.



Death of Jean-Michel Atlan in Paris.
Foundation of the Nouveaux Réalistes group in Yves Klein’s Paris apartment.

Opening of the Musée National Fernand Léger in Biot, France.
Betty Parsons Gallery exhibits works by Ad Reinhardt (1913–1967), including his Black Paintings.

Léopold Sédar Senghor (1906–2001) is elected first president of Senegal.
John F. Kennedy is elected president of the US, assumes office in 1961, and is assassinated in 1963.


James Johnson Sweeney is appointed director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where he serves until 1967.
Mark Rothko retrospective exhibition opens at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and travels to London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Basel, Rome, and Paris through 1963.
Yves Klein exhibitions are held in Europe and the US, including at Leo Castelli Gallery, New York.
ZERO exhibition opens at Galerie Schemla, Düsseldorf.
Nouveaux Réalistes exhibition is presented at Gallery J, Paris.
L’atelier de Braque (Braque’s Workshop) exhibition opens at the Musée du Louvre.

First orbit of Earth by Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin (1934–1968) in the Vostok 1 spacecraft.
Construction of the Berlin Wall.


Opening of the Alice Pauli Gallery in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Death of Franz Kline in New York.
Andy Warhol (1928–1987) exhibits his Campbell’s Soup Cans at Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles.

Algeria achieves independence.
NASA launch of Telstar 1, the first satellite to broadcast television images between the US and Europe.
Diplomatic and military confrontation between the US and the USSR known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Andy Warhol. Campbell’s Soup Cans, 1962. Acrylic with metallic enamel paint on canvas, each: 20 × 16 inches (50.8 × 40.6 cm). Museum of Modern Art, New York
© 2024 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


Opening of the Musée Matisse in Nice, France.
Jean-Michel Atlan exhibition is presented at the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris.
Upon the death of Georges Braque in Paris, a state funeral is held in the Musée du Louvre’s Cour Carrée.
Opening of the first Picasso Museum in Barcelona, Spain. (Another opens in 1966 in Antibes, France.)

Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova (b. 1937) becomes the first woman to travel into space.


The Venice Biennale’s Grand Prize for painting is awarded to Robert Rauschenberg (1925–2008).
Franz Kline exhibition opens at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
Mark Rothko receives a commission from John and Dominique de Menil to create murals for a meditative space in Houston.
Post-Painterly Abstraction exhibition is presented at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Architecture without Architects exhibition opens at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

First close-up photos of the surface of the moon are taken by an American probe.


Donald Judd (1928–1994) publishes the essay “Specific Objects” in Arts Yearbook and makes his first Stack sculpture.
Daniel Buren (b. 1938) initiates his vertical stripe motif.

Astérix, the first French satellite, goes into space.


For Pablo Picasso’s 85th birthday, a major exhibition is organized in Paris at the Grand Palais, the Bibliothèque Nationale, and the Petit Palais.

Start of the Cultural Revolution in China.


Sonia Delaunay retrospective is mounted at the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris.
Death of Ad Reinhardt in New York.


Death of Lucio Fontana in Comabbio, Italy.
Franz Kline exhibition opens at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Release of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick.

Major demonstrations and general strike in France known as May 68.
Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968) in Memphis, Tennessee.
First American team in lunar orbit.

Trade union workers demonstrating at the Place de la République, Paris, May 24, 1968
© Associated Press
Martin Luther King, Jr. addressing the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC, August 28, 1963
Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images


In Paris, there is a Piet Mondrian exhibition at the Musée de l’Orangerie and a Hans Hartung exhibition at the Musée National d’Art Moderne.

Georges Pompidou (1911–1974) becomes president of the Fifth French Republic.
First steps on the moon by American astronauts Neil Armstrong (1930–2012) and Buzz Aldrin (b. 1930).

Neil Armstrong with the Apollo 11 Lunar Module, 1969
Photo by NASA/Newsmakers


Soulages writes a text for the catalogue accompanying the Matisse retrospective in Copenhagen.


Soulages devotes himself to etching from the summer until the end of 1973.


In the spring, Soulages sets up his studio in the Maubert neighborhood of Paris. He will keep the studio until the end of his life. Pierre Soulages: L’oeuvre gravé intégral 1952–1974 (Pierre Soulages: The Complete Engraved Work) exhibition opens at Galerie de France, Paris, with a catalogue that includes a text by historian Georges Duby (1919–1996). A major exhibition of Soulages’s work is presented at the Musée Dynamique in Dakar; it travels to Lisbon, Montpellier, and South America.

Pierre Soulages at Soulages, Musée Dynamique, Dakar, 1974
Photo by Jacques Haillot/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images


Soulages receives the Grand Prix de la Création de la Ville de Paris in painting.


Soulages receives the Rembrandt Award.


In Paris, Soulages’s work is presented at the inauguration of the Centre Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne, and an exhibition of his bronze works (1975–77) is held at Galerie de France.

Pierre Soulages at the foundry with Bronze N° 3, 117 x 95 cm, Paris, 1977
Photo by Jean-Regis Rouston/Roger Viollet via Getty Images


Soulages debuts a new series that he will name Outrenoir (“beyond black”) in 1990–91. His work is featured in the survey Soulages, peintures récentes (Soulages: Recent Paintings) at the Centre Pompidou.

View of Pierre Soulages: Peintures récentes, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 1979
Digital Image © CNAC/MNAM, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY



Deaths of Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman in New York.
First exhibition on the Supports/Surfaces group appears at ARC 1, sponsored by the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
First edition of the Art Basel fair is organized in Switzerland. (Art Basel Miami Beach begins in 2002, Art Basel Hong Kong in 2013, and Paris+ par Art Basel in 2022.)
Opening of the Musée Paul Valéry in Sète.

View of Hans Hartung, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, 1969
Photo by Alain Nogues/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images


Opening of the Musée Gustave Courbet in the house where the artist was born in Ornans, France.
Hommage à Pablo Picasso (Homage to Pablo Picasso) exhibition is presented at the Musée du Louvre.
Opening of the Rothko Chapel in Houston.
Younger Abstract Expressionists of the Fifties and a Barnett Newman exhibition open at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Mariner 9, from NASA, becomes the first artificial satellite in orbit around Mars.
Soviet rovers are the first spacecrafts to land on Mars.

View of the Rothko Chapel, Houston, 1974
© 2024 Estate of Jack Tworkov / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY


Robert Motherwell retrospective opens at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.


Death of Pablo Picasso in Mougins, France.

NASA’s Pioneer 10 becomes the first spacecraft to fly past Jupiter.


Installation of Marc Chagall’s (1887–1985) stained-glass windows in Reims Cathedral, France.
First edition of Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain (FIAC; International Contemporary Art Fair) in Paris.
In Ethiopia, paleoanthropologists discover the hominid skeleton later named Lucy.


Opening of the Fondation Vasarely in Aix-en-Provence, France.
Deaths of Roberta González and André Malraux, in Chauconin-Neufmontiers and Crétiel, France, respectively.
Death of Alexander Calder in New York.

Concorde conducts its first commercial flights out of Paris and London.


Paris–New York exhibition opens at the Centre Pompidou.
Exhibition of Marc Chagall’s recent paintings is held at the Musée du Louvre.
Abstraction-Création, Art Non-Figuratif (Abstraction-Creation, Non-Figurative Art) exhibition is mounted at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

First democratic elections in Spain since 1936.
From the NASA Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, the twin spacecraft Voyagers 1 and 2 are launched to study the outer planets of the solar system.


Paris–Berlin exhibition opens at the Centre Pompidou.
Death of Joseph Delteil in Montpellier.
Retrospectives dedicated to the work of Mark Rothko and Robert Motherwell open, respectively, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Royal Academy of Art in London.

View of Mark Rothko, 1903–1970: A Retrospective, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1978–79
© Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. All Rights Reserved.


Paris–Moscou 1900–1930 exhibition opens at the Centre Pompidou.
Death of Sonia Delaunay in Paris.
Zao Wou-Ki exhibition is presented at Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York.
Franz Kline exhibition is held at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC.


The Danish state commissions a large-format painting by Soulages for Musikhuset Aarhus, which will open in 1982.


Soulages participates in the Paris–Paris exhibition at the Centre Pompidou. He signs the petition “Les artistes dégénérés contre la présence d’Arno Breker au Centre Pompidou” (“Degenerate artists against the presence of Arno Breker at the Centre Pompidou”), which decried the German sculptor.

Peinture 565 x 400 cm, 1982 at the Musikhuset Aarhus, 1982
Courtesy Musikhuset Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark


A monumental multi-panel painting by Soulages is installed at the entrance hall of the Centre régional des télécommunications in Dijon, France.


Soulages returns to Japan for his retrospective at the Seibu Museum of Art in Tokyo.

View of Soulages, Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo, 1984
Courtesy Soulages Archives, Paris


Soulages receives France’s Grand Prix National de Peinture. Galerie de France presents his large-format multi-panel works at FIAC in Paris.


Soulages receives a commission for stained-glass windows to be installed in the Abbey Church of Sainte-Foy, Conques.

View of stained-glass windows by Pierre Soulages, Abbey Church of Sainte-Foy, Conques, 1994
Photograph by Vincent Cunillère


Alice Pauli Gallery becomes Soulages’s dealer in Lausanne, Switzerland.


Soulages: 40 ans de peinture (Soulages: 40 Years of Painting) retrospective opens at Museum Fridericianum in Kassel, Germany; the exhibition travels to Valencia, Spain, and Nantes, France.



Jean-Michel Atlan exhibition opens at the Centre Pompidou.


Zao Wou-Ki exhibition is organized by Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris; it travels to Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

First personal computer produced by IBM.
First reported cases of the AIDS epidemic in the US.

Keith Haring. Ignorance = Fear / Silence = Death, 1989. Offset lithography, 24 ¹⁄₁₆ × 43 ¹⁄₁₆ inches (61.1 × 109.4 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Digital image © Whitney Museum of American Art / Licensed by Scala / Art Resource, NY


Jackson Pollock and Claude Viallat exhibitions are mounted at the Centre Pompidou.

Yves Klein retrospective opens at the Rice Museum, Houston; it travels to Chicago, New York, and Paris.

First commercially produced compact discs (CDs) are pressed at a Philips factory in West Germany.


Gérard Schneider retrospective opens at Musée d’Art et d’Histoire in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, and Musée d’Art Contemporain, Dunkirk, France.

In the US, Motorola launches the first commercially available handheld mobile phone.


Opening of the Musée Picasso in Paris (the Picasso Foundation was founded in 1988 in Malaga, Spain).


Death of Gérard Schneider in Paris.
Opening of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.
Daniel Buren represents France at the Venice Biennale.


Retrospectives are organized for Mark Rothko at the Tate Gallery, London, and Lucio Fontana at the Centre Pompidou.
Death of Anna-Eva Bergman (1909–1987) in Grasse, France.


Abstractions exhibition opens at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.


Inauguration of the Pyramid by I.M. Pei (1917–2019) at the Musée du Louvre.
Death of Hans Hartung in Antibes, France.

NASA launches the Magellan probe to study Venus.
Fall of the Berlin Wall, followed by Germany’s reunification in 1990.
A senior environmental official at the United Nations warns of global warming, followed by an assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1995.

Opening of Louvre Pyramid, Paris, April 30, 1989
Credit: Rue des Archives / GRANGER.
Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989
News UK / News Licensing


First Soulages solo exhibition opens at Alice Pauli Gallery, including recent multi-panel works.


Two tapestries by Soulages are commissioned and installed at the Ministry of Economics and Finance in Paris.


By March, Soulages devotes himself to the stained-glass windows for the Abbey Church of Sainte-Foy. He receives the Praemium Imperiale for painting from the Japan Art Association in Tokyo.


A Soulages retrospective opens at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul; the exhibition travels to Beijing and Taipei in 1994.

View of Pierre Soulages: une rétrospective, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, 1993
Courtesy Soulages Archives, Paris


Publication of the first volume of Pierre Encrevé’s (1939–2019) catalogue raisonné of Soulages’s paintings. The next volumes follow in 1995, 1998, and 2015. Inauguration of Soulages’s celebrated stained-glass windows at the Abbey Church of Sainte-Foy.

Installation of windows at the Abbey Church of Sainte-Foy, Conques, 1994
Photograph by Vincent Cunillère


Pierre Soulages: Noir lumière (Pierre Soulages: Black Light) retrospective opens at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; it travels to Montreal and São Paulo.



Start of the Gulf War, which concludes in 1991.


Death of Robert Motherwell in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Start of the Yugoslav Wars, which will continue until 2001.


The World Wide Web becomes available to the broader public.


Creation of the Fondation Hartung Bergman in Antibes.
Franz Kline exhibition opens at the Menil Collection, Houston.


Africa: The Art of a Continent exhibition opens at the Royal Academy of Art in London.

The American Space Shuttle Atlantis docks on Russian space station Mir.

Installation view of Africa: Art of a Continent exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts. London, 1995
Photo by Aivars Architects


Opening of the Museo Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain.

Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain
© Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Photo by David Heald.


The New York School exhibition is presented at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.


Mark Rothko retrospective opens at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

View of Mark Rothko, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1998
Courtesy of National Gallery of Art Archives.


Soulages: 82 peinturesexhibition at Les Abattoirs in Toulouse, France.


Soulages becomes the first living painter to receive a solo exhibition at the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. He travels to Moscow.


Pierre Soulages: Eaux-fortes et Bronzes (Pierre Soulages: Etchings and Bronzes) exhibition opens at Musée Rignault in Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, France.


The Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris exhibits Soulages’s printed works.


Creation of the Musée Soulages in Rodez with an exceptional donation by Pierre and Colette Soulages of five hundred works to Rodez. They also donate 19 paintings to the Musée Fabre in Montpellier, along with an additional painting in 2006.

Pierre Soulages at Pierre Soulages: Outrenoir, Robert Miller Gallery, New York, 2005
DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images


In Montpellier, the renovated Musée Fabre opens its doors with a wing devoted to Soulages.

Pierre Soulages installing works at the Musée Fabre, Montpellier, c. 2006
Photograph by Vincent Cunillère


The Musée Soulages in Rodez is entrusted to Catalan architects Rafael Aranda (b. 1961), Carme Pigem (b. 1962), and Ramón Vilalta (b. 1960) of RCR Arquitectes.


On the occasion of Soulages’s 90 th birthday, a retrospective is organized at the Centre Pompidou; the exhibition travels to Mexico and Berlin. Publication by Éditions Hermann, Paris, of Soulages’s Écrits et propos (Writings and Remarks). Benoît Decron becomes director of the Musée Soulages, which was previously led by Estelle Pietrzyk.

View of Pierre Soulages, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2009
Photograph by Georges Meguerditchian, Bibliotheque Kandinsky, Mus.e national d’Art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France © CNAC/MNAM/Dist. RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY



Terrorist attacks against the US, for which Al-Qaeda later claims responsibility.

Lower Manhattan skyline and Brooklyn Bridge, New York, September 11, 2001
Alistair Dove / Alamy Stock Photo


Paris: Georges Mathieu retrospective at the Jeu de Paume.


Zao Wou-Ki retrospective is mounted at the Jeu de Paume.
Opening of Dia Beacon in upstate New York by the Dia Art Foundation, created in 1974.

Start of the Iraq War, which continues until 2011.

Zao Wou-Ki at the Jeu de Paume, Paris, 2003
Courtesy Foundation Zao Wou-Ki


Jean-Michel Othoniel (b. 1964) exhibition Contrepoint opens at the Musée du Louvre.
Franz Kline exhibition is presented at Castello di Rivoli in Turin.


Between Representation and Abstraction exhibition opens at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.


Opening of the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris (in 2016, it is renamed Musée du Quai Branly–Jacques Chirac).


The Musée du Louvre commissions a permanent installation from Anselm Kiefer (b. 1945).
A Gustave Courbet retrospective opens at the Grand Palais, Paris, which travels to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Musée Fabre in 2008.
Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman: The Sublime is Now! exhibition opens at the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen, Switzerland.


The artist lays the first stone of the Musée Soulages in Rodez on October 20.

Pierre Soulages laying the first stone at the Musée Soulages, Rodez, 2010
Photograph by Vincent Cunillère


The city of Rodez buys the house where Soulages was born.

The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon buys three of the artist’s works, including the triptych Peinture 181 × 244 cm, 25 février 2009.


Pierre and Colette Soulages make an additional donation of fourteen paintings to the Musée Soulages. He mounts a solo exhibition at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, which travels to Rome.


The artist donates two tar-on-glass works from 1948 to the Centre Pompidou as a sign of his friendship with and respect for Alfred Pacquement (b. 1948).


Inauguration of the Musée Soulages in Rodez, attended by the artist and François Hollande (b.1954), President of France, on May 30. The museum presents the permanent collection, comprising donations from Pierre and Colette Soulages. At the artist’s request, subsequent exhibitions are devoted to other artists or movements, featuring works by Pablo Picasso, Jasper
Johns (b. 1930), Alexander Calder, Yves Klein, and Fernand Léger, among others.

View of the Musée Soulages, Rodez, 2014
Courtesy Musée Soulages, Rodez © RCR Photo by Jean-Louis Bories


Soulages is awarded the Grand Croix de la Légion d’Honneur (Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor), receiving the order in 2016. He participates in the exhibition Los Modernos: Dialogues

France/Mexico at the Museo Nacional de Arte (MUNAL), Mexico City, which travels to Guadalajara and Lyon.


Solo exhibitions dedicated to Soulages’s work include those at Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; Musée Picasso, Antibes, France; and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland.


The trio of architects behind the Musée Soulages win the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Soulages donates paintings to the Art Institute of Chicago (Peinture 190 × 222 cm, 5 février 2012), the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (Peinture 326 × 181 cm, 14 mars 2009), and the Tate,
London (Peinture 304 × 181 cm, 9 décembre 2007). He participates in the exhibitions Histoires: De Courbet à Soulages at the Musée Courbet in Ornans and De Monet à Soulages. Chemins de la modernité (1800–1980) (From Monet to Soulages: Paths of Modernity [1800–1980]), which travels from Chinese venues Tsinghua University Art Museum in Beijing, Chengdu Museum, and Wuhan Art Museum to Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain Saint-Étienne, France, in 2018.


Pierrette Bloch bequeaths seven of Soulages’s works to the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris. They enter the collection of the Centre Pompidou following Bloch’s death in Paris in 2017. Soulages mounts solo exhibitions at Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Martigny, Switzerland (organized by the Centre Pompidou); L’Arc and Pavillon de l’Industrie, Le Creusot, France; and
Ludwig Museum Koblenz, Germany.


Death of Pierre Encrevé, author of the catalogue raisonné and numerous essays on Soulages, on February 13.

On June 24, the Musée Soulages becomes a Établissement Public de Coopération Culturelle (EPCC). According to Pierre and Colette Soulages’s wishes, Alfred Pacquement is elected president for the museum. Five years after its opening, the Musée Soulages has received almost nine hundred thousand visitors.

Centre Pompidou and Musée du Louvre open exhibitions to celebrate the artist’s centennial year, Soulages et le Musée national d’art moderne and Soulages au Louvre.

The artist’s one hundredth birthday on December 24.

View of Pierre Soulages, Salon Carré, Musée du Louvre, Paris, 2019
© RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY


France: The Musée du Louvre commissions permanent installations from François Morellet (1926–2016), L’esprit d’escalier, and Cy Twombly (1928–2011), The Ceiling in the Salle des Bronzes. Zao Wou-Ki creates stained-glass windows for the Prieuré Saint-Cosme.

New York: Abstract Expressionist New York exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.

View of Abstract Expressionist New York, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2010–11
Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY


Claude Lorrain (1600–1682) exhibition opens at the Musée du Louvre.
Robert Motherwell exhibition is presented at Bernard Jacobson Gallery in London.


Gérard Schneider retrospective opens at the Musée des Beaux-Arts d’Orléans, France.


Sonia Delaunay retrospective opens at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris and travels to London.
Opening of the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris.

View of The EY Exhibition: Sonia Delaunay, Tate Modern, London, 2015
Photo: © Tate


Terrorist attacks in Paris, for which the Islamic State, also known as Daesh, claims responsibility.


Grenoble: Daniel Dezeuze retrospective at the Musée de Grenoble.

United Arab Emirates: Opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island.


Zao Wou-Ki retrospective opens at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.


For Gustave Courbet’s bicentenary, three exhibitions are held at the Musée Courbet in Ornans: Courbet, dessinateur (Courbet: Designer); Yan Pei-Ming face à Courbet (Yan Pei-Ming Facing Courbet); and Courbet/Hodler: Une rencontre (Courbet/Hodler: A Meeting).


Soulages’s solo exhibitions include Soulages: Malerei 1946–2019 (Soulages: Painting 1946–2019) at the Museum Frieder Burda in Baden-Baden, Germany, which travels to the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz in Germany. On July 9, the third donation by Pierre and Colette Soulages to the Musée Soulages includes the artist’s unique ceramic vase produced by the
Manufacture de Sèvres in 2000; molds for Bronze I and Bronze II; seventeen paintings on paper dating from 1946 to 1973; and five paintings, among them Peinture 390 × 130 cm, 17 mars 2019.


The Musée Soulages welcomes its one millionth visitor on September 10.


Death of Pierre Soulages at the age of 102 on October 25 in Nîmes, France. A ceremony is later held at the Abbey Church of Sainte-Foy. A national tribute is led by Emmanuel Macron (b. 1977), President of France, in the Cour Carrée of the Musée du Louvre on November 2. Soulages is buried at the Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris on November 4.

French President Emmanuel Macron at the tribute ceremony to Pierre Soulages, Paris, 2022
Photo courtesy of Emilio Steinberger


The Musée du Louvre commissions the kinetic sculpture L’Onde du Midi by Elias Crespin (b. 1965).
Degree Zero: Drawing at Midcentury exhibition opens at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declares the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.


In France, the French Ministry of Culture bestows national treasure status on nineteen significant works from the Arts incohérents movement discovered in a trunk.
Opening of the Bourse de Commerce–Pinault Collection in Paris.


The exhibition Monet/Rothko is mounted at the at the Musée des impressionnismes Giverny, France; Machu Picchu et les trésors du Pérou (Machu Picchu and the Treasures of Peru) at the Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine, Paris; and Simon Hantaï: The Centenary Exhibition at the
Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris.

Russia invades Ukraine, starting the ongoing war.
Discovery of an ancient Maya city, Ocomtún, in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

View of Simon Hantai: The Centenary Exhibition, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, 2022
Photo by BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images