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.
France: One hundredth anniversary of the birth of Gustave Courbet (1819–1877). The Musée de Grenoble, founded in 1798, becomes the first modern art museum in France, thanks to Andry-Farcy. Signing of the Treaty of Versailles and the end of World War I between Germany and the Allied Powers.
Paris: The Musée du Louvre, which closed during World War I, gradually reopens. Opening of the Galerie Charpentier, which will close at the start of the Occupation and will reopen in 1941.
Weimar: Foundation of the Bauhaus, an avant-garde school in Germany whose teachers will include Paul Klee (1879–1940), Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944), and Josef Albers (1888–1976).
China: Birth of Zao Wou-Ki (1920–2013).
Paris: Reopening of the Petit Palais (inaugurated in 1900) after World War I.
France: Birth of Georges Mathieu (1921–2012).
Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded to Albert Einstein (he receives the prize in 1922).
Egypt: Discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb.
After the March on Rome, Benito Mussolini becomes the Prime Minister of Italy.
Creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), which will dissolve in 1991.
Paris: Foundation of the Bal Nègre, a cabaret, dancehall, and jazz club. Publication of the Manifeste du surréalisme (Surrealist Manifesto) by André Breton (1896–1966).
Paris: Joséphine Baker is the Revue Nègre’s opening act, accompanied by jazz musician Sidney Bechet, among others.
Leipzig: Commercialization of the first Leica compact camera.
Paris: Opening of the Musée de l’Orangerie with the inauguration of the large-format Les Nymphéas paintings by Claude Monet (1840–1926).
Nice: Birth of Yves Klein (1928–1962).
Paris: Foundation of the Salon des Surindépendants.
Paris: Gustave Courbet exhibition at the Petit Palais.
New York: Opening of the Museum of Modern Art,located at various sites before being permanently established in Manhattan in 1939, under the direction of Alfred H. Barr Jr. Crash of the stock market on Wall Street, beginning the Great Depression.
Between 1931 and 1932, Soulages makes his first visit to the Abbey Church of Sainte-Foy, Conques, near Rodez, France, a significant moment for the artist.
Soulages begins painting in Rodez.
In September, Soulages goes to study under 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 Pablo Picasso’s (1881–1973) and Paul Cézanne’s (1839–1906) works at Galerie Paul Rosenberg, Paris.
In April, he is admitted to the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. Disappointed by what he sees there, he returns to Rodez.
United States: Discovery of the planet Pluto, designated the ninth planet in the solar system until 2006.
Paris: Formation of the Abstraction-Création group 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.
Dresden: First Hans Hartung (1904–1989) exhibition at Galerie Kühl.
New York: Opening of the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Creation of the Chinese Soviet Republic by Mao Zedong.
Paris: Opening of the Musée des Écoles Étrangères Contemporaines section at the Jeu de Paume.
Berlin: Permanent closure of the Bauhaus by the Nazi Party.
Portland: First Mark Rothko (1903–1970) solo exhibition at the Portland Art Museum in Oregon. A few months later, the Contemporary Arts Gallery in New York also hosts a solo exhibition.
Germany: Appointment of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of the Weimar Republic; beginning of the Third Reich.
In response to the threat represented by the Third Reich and imperial Japan, the US and the USSR establish diplomatic relations.
Paris: Parliamentary crisis following violent right-wing demonstrations.
Spain: Socialist and anarchist insurrections, particularly in Catalonia.
New York: James Johnson Sweeney becomes curator of the Museum of Modern Art (until 1946). Later he becomes director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1952–60).
USSR: Death of Kazimir Malevich (1879–1935).
USSR: Start of the Moscow Trials during the Great Purge organized by Joseph Stalin.
England: Invention of the first radar system.
New York: Cubism and Abstract Art exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.
Nîmes: Birth of Claude Viallat.
France: Victory of the Popular Front in the general election.
Spain: Start of the Civil War, which will end with the victory of Francisco Franco in 1939.
Declaration of the Rome-Berlin Axis, followed by the ratification of the Anti-Comintern Pact between Germany and the Empire of Japan, signed by Italy in 1937 and by Spain in 1939.
Rodez: Opening of the Musée Fenaille, famous for its collection of statue-menhirs.
Paris: Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne, with the construction of the Palais de Tokyo prefiguring two modern art museums: a national museum, which became the Musée National d’Art Moderne in 1947, and a municipal museum, which became the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1961.
Germany: Traveling Entartete Kunst exhibition, featuring works considered “degenerate” by the Nazi Party and confiscated from museums.
Spain: Bombing of the town of Guernica.
San Francisco: Inauguration of the Golden Gate Bridge, then the world’s longest suspended bridge.
Paris: Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme at the Galerie des Beaux-Arts. Opening of the Galerie Louis Carré.
Annexation of Austria by Germany.
After the Sudeten crisis in Czechoslovakia, signature of the Munich Agreement by Germany, France, Great Britain, and Italy.
Paris: Evacuation of the Musée du Louvre collection to the castles of Chambord, Valençay, and others.
Lyon: Centenary exhibition of Cézanne’s works at the Musée des Beaux-Arts.
Signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact by Germany and the USSR.
Start of World War II, 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 to prepare to take the exam that will allow him to work as an art teacher.
He enrolls at the École des Beaux-Arts, where he meets Colette Llaurens, whom he will marry in 1942. He visits the Musée Fabre, Montpellier, and is inspired by the works of Spanish painters and Gustave Courbet.
At the end of the year, to resist mandatory conscription, Soulages obtains false identity papers and becomes a manager at the Mas de LaValsière vineyard near Montpellier. He meets his neighbors, writer Joseph Delteil and his American wife, Caroline Dudley, who managed the 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 goes to Toulouse, where he meets Jean Cassou.
At the end of the year, he returns to LaValsière to work as a winemaker.
By the winter, painting becomes of prime importance to Pierre Soulages.
Pierre and Colette Soulages move to Courbevoie, near Paris, in March. Soulages spends time with Francis Bott (1904–1998), who introduces him to Henri Goetz (1909–1989), Christine Boumeester (1904–1971), and Édouard Jaguer (1924–2006). Soulages also meets Alexander Calder.
The Salon d’Automne in Paris refuses the work Soulages sends for exhibition.
Soulages exhibits at the Salon des Surindépendants in Paris, where he meets 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.
Pierre Soulages meets Marie Raymond (1908–1988), Fred Klein (1898–1990), and their son Yves Klein (1928–1962), and Jean-Michel Atlan in Paris. Ottomar Domnick (1907–1989), invites Soulages to exhibit his works at the Wanderausstellung Französischer Abstrakter Malerei, which begins in Stuttgart and travels around Germany.
Soulages participates in the exhibition Prises de Terre at the Galerie Breteau, Paris, organized by the Revolutionary Surrealists, including Édouard Jaguer.
James Johnson Sweeney, then curator of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, visits Soulages’s studio in Paris.
Pierre Soulages has his first solo exhibition at the Galerie Lydia Conti in Paris.
Roger Vailland proposes that Soulages create the theater settings 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 the Betty Parsons Gallery, New Yorkat the Betty Parsons Gallery in NewYork.
Soulages gifts Peinture 145 × 97 cm, 1949, to the Musée de Grenoble. It is his first work to enter a museum collection.
Soulages meets Pierrette Bloch (1928–2017), who becomes a close friend.
France: Discovery of the prehistoric Lascaux cave, officially open to the public in 1948. Requisitioned by the Germans, the Jeu de Paume museum in Paris becomes a storage place for works stolen, mainly from Jewish collectors, by the Nazi Party’s cultural property organization (ERR). German troops arrive in Paris. Signature of the Armistice by Marshal Philippe Pétain and Adolf Hitler. The occupation of France commences with one zone controlled by the German Army and one that remains unoccupied, thezone libre.
New York: Release of the movie The Great Dictator by Charlie Chaplin.
New York: Abstract Painting: Shapes of Things exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.
Japan enters World War II, followed by the US.
US: Following the discovery of plutonium, inception of the Manhattan Project to create an atomic bomb.
Paris: Opening of the Galerie de France. Exhibition of works by Arno Breker (1900–1991) 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.
Alès: Birth of Daniel Dezeuze.
New York: Artists in Exile exhibition at the Pierre Matisse Gallery.
Berlin: Wannsee Conference to ensure the implementation of the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question.”
France: The Germans invade the unoccupied zone.
Rodez: Antonin Artaud is transferred to Paraire psychiatric hospital, after being institutionalized in 1937.
Montpellier: Henri Matisse (1869–1954) donates the series Thèmes et Variations to the Musée Fabre.
Paris: Foundation of the Salon de Mai.
New York: Alexander Calder survey exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. First Jackson Pollock (1912–1956) solo exhibition at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century gallery.
Paris: The Salon d’Automne celebrates the liberation with a Pablo Picasso retrospective. First Jean-Michel Atlan (1913–1916) exhibition at the Galerie L’Arc-en-Ciel.
New York: First Robert Motherwell (1915–1991) solo exhibition at the gallery Art of This Century.
Deaths of Piet Mondrian (b. 1872) and Wassily Kandinsky (b. 1866).
France: Normandy landings (D-Day) and the Liberation of Paris.
New York: Piet Mondrian exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Opening of the Kootz Gallery.
Paris: Gradual reopening of the Musée du Louvre begins.
Germany surrenders to the Allies.
Japan: The US uses atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Argentina: Publication of the Manifesto Blanco, influenced by Lucio Fontana (1899–1968), a manifesto for Spatialism, the art movement to be founded in 1947.
Paris: Art et Résistance exhibition at the Musée National d’Art Moderne. Creation of the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles.
London: Opening of the Gimpel Fils gallery.
New York: Opening of the Betty Parsons Gallery. Fourteen Americans exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.
Robert M. Coates coins the term ‘‘abstract expressionist” to denote the artists of the New York School, which signals the movement of the center of the international arts scene from Paris to New York.
US: Filing of the patent for the LP vinyl record.
ENIAC, the first electronic computer, is created.
New York: Pablo Picasso exhibition at the Kootz Gallery. The first of four annual Mark Rothko exhibitions at the Betty Parsons Gallery.
Paris: Hans Hartung and Gérard Schneider (1896–1986) solo exhibitions at the Galerie Lydia Conti. Publication of the Manifeste des Surréalistes-Révolutionnaires en France signed, among others, by Noël Arnaud (1919–2003), Édouard Jaguer, and René Passeron (1920–2017). Official opening of the Musée National d’Art Moderne, managed by Jean Cassou.
Establishment of the Truman Doctrine, signaling Cold War tensions.
Venice: The Biennale di Venezia’s Grand Prize for painting is awarded to Georges Braque (1882–1963).
New York: Robert Motherwell starts a series of works in black and white, Elegy to the Spanish Republic.
Creation of the State of Israel.
Paris: First solo exhibition by Zao Wou-Ki (1920–2013) at the Galerie Creuze. Fernand Léger (1881–1955) retrospective at the Musée National d’Art Moderne.
Start of the Color Field paintings by Mark Rothko in New York and continuation of the Concetti Spaziali series by Lucio Fontana in Milan.
Proclamation by Mao Zedong of the People’s Republic of China.
Pierre Soulages systematizes the format of his titles—Technique dimensions, date—on January 9.
First purchase of Soulages’s work, Peinture 146 × 114cm, 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 Lacourière studio in Paris.
Louis Carré exhibits Soulages’s works abroad until 1953.
Soulages makes the sets for Le mystère d’Abraham by Fernand Chavannes, choreographed by Janine Charrat.
Soulages participates in Peintres de la Nouvelle École de Paris at the Galerie de Babylone in Paris and the 26th Biennale di Venezia.
Soulages designs a mobile for the Château d’Amboise for Leonardo daVinci’s (1452–1519) five hundredth birthday.
Soulages exhibits his etchings at Galerie LaHune in Paris.
He participates in the exhibition Younger European Painters at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in NewYork.
First Soulages solo exhibition in the US at the New York gallery of Samuel M. Kootz, who becomes his American representative and will devote eight exhibitions to him until 1965.
Alfred H. Barr Jr. and Nelson A. Rockefeller visit his studio in Paris.
Pierre Soulages participates in the first Documenta exhibition in Kassel; The New Decade: 22 European Painters and Sculptors exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (travels to Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and San Francisco); Phases de l’art contemporain exhibition at the Galerie Creuze in Paris; and École de Paris exhibition at the Galerie Charpentier in Paris.
Solo exhibition at the Gimpel Fils Gallery in London, which becomes his representative in England until 1975.
Soulages participates in numerous group exhibitions in France and abroad, including Dix ans de peinture française 1945–1955 at the Musée de Peinture et de Sculpture de Grenoble.
Solo exhibition at the Galerie de France in Paris, which marks the start of a partnership.
Soulages donates Peinture 194 × 130 cm, 9 octobre 1957 to the French state. It enters the collection of the Musée National d’Art Moderne.
He receives the Windsor Prize in Paris.
He establishes his studio at 48 rue Galande in the 5th arrondisement of Paris.
Heinz Berggruen organizes a solo exhibition of Soulages’s gouaches and etchings in Paris.
In November, Soulages and his wife 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. Then the couple travels through the US in the company of Zao Wou-Ki.
January: Soulages travels to Japan to receive the Tokyo Biennale prize awarded to him the previous year.
First monograph devoted to Soulages by Hubert Juin.
Soulages receives the Grand Prize for etching at the Ljubljana Bienniale of Graphic Arts exhibition in Yugoslavia.
He acquires a large piece of land in Sète, France, and designs a new house with a studio, completed at the end of 1960.
Venice: The Biennale di Venezia’s Grand Prize for painting is awarded to Henri Matisse.
New York: First Franz Kline (1910–1962) solo exhibition at the Charles Egan Gallery.
New York: Gérard Schneider exhibition and first Barnett Newman (1905–1970) solo exhibition at the Betty Parsons Gallery. Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.
Le Cateau-Cambrésis: Opening of the Matisse Museum by the artist in his hometown.
Jackson Pollock exhibition at the Galerie Paul Facchetti in Paris.
Venice: Biennale di Venezia’s Grand Prize for sculpture is awarded to Alexander Calder.
New York: The Museum of Non-Objective Painting, founded in 1939, is renamed the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. It moves to its current location in 1959.
Paris: Michel Tapié publishes Un art autre où il s’agit de nouveaux dévidages du réel.
US: IBM launches its first computer, the IBM 701.
Paris: Exhibition 12 peintres et sculpteurs américains contemporains at the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris, organized with the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Musée du Louvre inaugurates the first public commission in the 20th century, three paintings by Georges Braque for the ceiling of the King Henri II room. Death of Francis Picabia.
Brussels: Gérard Schneider retrospective at the Palais des Beaux-Arts.
Discovery of the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
USA: IBM announces the first mass-produced computer, the IBM 650.
Venice: At the Biennale di Venezia, a retrospective exhibition of Gustave Courbet’s works. Grand Prize for sculpture awarded to Jean Arp (1886–1966).
Paris: Start of a series of exhibitions devoted to the New or Second School of Paris at the Galerie Charpentier through 1963.
Nice: Death of Henri Matisse.
New York: Georges Mathieu exhibition at the Kootz Gallery.
Chicago: Exhibition of paintings by Mark Rothko at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Japan: Foundation of the Gutai group by Jiro Yoshihara (1905–1972).
France: Death of Fernand Léger. First exhibition of Yves Klein’s monochrome paintings at the Club des Solitaires in Paris.
Start of the Vietnam War, which ends in 1975.
New York: Franz Kline exhibition at Sidney Janis Gallery. Gérard Schneider exhibition at the Kootz Gallery. Jackson Pollock exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.
Development of the first transatlantic telephone cable.
Düsseldorf: Formation of the Group Zero.
Hans Hartung has exhibitions in six museums in Germany and at the Kleemann Galleries in New York.
Yves Klein finalizes the fabrication of IKB (International Klein Blue). The exhibition Yves Klein: Propositions monochromes is on view simultaneously at Galerie Iris Clert and Galerie Colette Allendy.
Paris: Death of Constantin Brancuși (1876–1957). Zao Wou-Ki exhibition at the Galerie de France.
USSR: Launch of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, followed by Sputnik 2.
Venice: Biennale di Venezia’s Grand Prize for painting is awarded to Mark Tobey. Franz Kline exhibitions in Rome and Turin.
Paris: Yves Klein exhibition of Le Vide at the Galerie Iris Clert.
US: Barnett Newman begins the series The Stations of the Cross, finished 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.
US: Launch of the first successful US satellite Explorer 1.
France: Election of Charles de Gaulle, President of the Fifth French Republic (1959–69), who appoints André Malraux as Minister of Cultural Affairs through 1969.
US: First Robert Motherwell retrospective, Bennington College, Vermont. Zao Wou-Ki exhibition, Kootz Gallery.
USSR: 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, Hanover, then travels through Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland through 1961.
Soulages lives and works in both Paris and Sète.
Soulages retrospective 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, Georges Mathieu, Yves Klein, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Bernard Buffet, Paul Guiramand, François Arnal, and César.
At the request of German collector Peter Ludwig, Soulages designs a stained-glass window for the Suermondt Ludwig Museum in Aachen, Germany.
Soulages retrospective at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where the artist adopts the principle of suspension for large-format works.
In the spring, Soulages has his first solo exhibitionin a French museum at the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris.
He receives a commission for a ceramic mural for the Oliver Tyrone Corporation in Pittsburgh, completed in April 1968.
France: Death of Jean-Michel Atlan. Foundation of the Nouveaux Réalistes group in Yves Klein’s apartment in Paris. Opening of the Musée National Fernand Léger in Biot.
New York: Ad Reinhardt’s (1913–1967) exhibition at the Betty Parsons Gallery, which includes his Black Paintings.
Senegal: Léopold Sédar Senghor elected first president of the country (1960–80).
US: John F. Kennedy is elected president, assumes office in 1961, and isassassinated in 1963.
US: James Johnson Sweeney appointed director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, serving until 1967. Mark Rothko retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York travels to London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Basel, Rome, and Paris through 1963.
Yves Klein exhibitions in the US, including at the Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, and Europe. ZERO exhibition at Galerie Schemla, Düsseldorf and Nouveaux Réalistes exhibition at Gallery J in Paris.
Paris: L’atelier de Braque exhibition at the Musée du Louvre.
USSR: First orbit of Earth by Yuri Gagarin in the Vostok 1 spacecraft.
Germany: Construction of the Berlin Wall.
Lausanne: Opening of the Alice Pauli Gallery.
New York: Death of Franz Kline.
Los Angeles: Andy Warhol (1928–1987) exhibits his Campbell’s Soup Cans at Ferus Gallery.
Algeria achieves independence.
Creation of Telstar 1, the first satellite to broadcast television images across the Atlantic.
Diplomatic and military confrontation between the US and the USSR known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Nice: Opening of the Musée Matisse.
Paris: Jean-Michel Atlan exhibition at the Musée National d’Art Moderne. Upon the death of Georges Braque, 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.)
USSR: Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman to travel into space.
Venice: Biennale di Venezia’s Grand Prize for painting is awarded to Robert Rauschenberg (1925–2008).
Paris: Franz Kline exhibition at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
US: Mark Rothko receives a commission from John and Dominique de Menil to create murals for a meditative space in Houston. Post-Painterly Abstraction exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Architecture without Architects exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
First close-up photos of the surface of the moon taken by an American probe.
US: Donald Judd publishes the essay “Specific Objects” and makes his first Stack sculpture.
Astérix, the first French satellite, goes into space.
Paris: For Pablo Picasso’s 85th birthday, a major exhibition is organized at the Grand Palais, the Bibliothèque Nationale, and the Petit Palais.
Start of the Cultural Revolution in China.
Paris: Daniel Buren (b. 1938) has begun working with the vertical stripe motif. Sonia Delaunay retrospective at the Musée National d’Art Moderne.
New York: Death of Ad Reinhardt.
Italy: Death of Lucio Fontana.
New York: Franz Kline exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Release of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick.
France: Major demonstrations and general strike known as May 68.
US: Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis. First American team in lunar orbit.
Paris: Piet Mondrian exhibition at the Musée de l’Orangerie. Hans Hartung exhibition at the Musée National d’Art Moderne.
Georges Pompidou becomes president of the Fifth French Republic until 1974.
First steps on the moon by Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
For the Matisse retrospective in Copenhagen, Soulages writes a text for the exhibition catalogue.
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 exhibition at the Galerie de France in Paris, with a catalogue that includes Georges Duby’s first text on the artist.
Major exhibition of Soulages’s works at the Musée Dynamique in Dakar. It travels to Lisbon, Montpellier, and South America.
Soulages receives the Grand Prix de la Création de la Ville de Paris in painting.
Soulages receives the Rembrandt Award.
Works by Soulages are presented at the inauguration of the Centre Pompidou, Musée National d'Art Moderne, in Paris.
Exhibition of Soulages’s bronze works (1975–77) at the Galerie de France in Paris.
Soulages debuts a new series that he would name Outrenoir (“beyond black”) in 1990–91. His work is featured in the survey Soulages, peintures récentes at the Centre Pompidou.
New York: Deaths of Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman.
Paris: First exhibition on the Supports/Surfaces group at ARC 1 sponsored by the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
First edition of the Art Basel fair 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.
France: Opening of the Musée Gustave Courbet in the house where the artist was born in Ornans. Hommage à Pablo Picasso exhibition at the Musée du Louvre in Paris.
US: Opening of the Rothko Chapel in Houston. Younger Abstract Expressionists of the Fifties and a Barnett Newman exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. First artificial satellite in orbit around Mars.
USSR: First spacecraft landing on Mars.
France: Death of Pablo Picasso.
US: Robert Motherwell retrospective at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Pioneer 10 becomes the first spacecraft to fly past Jupiter.
France: Installation of Marc Chagall’s (1887–1985) stained-glass windows in Reims Cathedral. First edition of Foire Internationale d'Art Contemporain (FIAC) in Paris.
Ethiopia: Discovery of the hominid skeleton later named Lucy.
France: Opening of the Fondation Vasarely in Aix-en-Provence. Deaths of Roberta González and André Malraux.
New York: Death of Alexander Calder.
Paris and London: Concorde conducts its first commercial flights.
Paris: Paris–New York exhibition at the Centre Pompidou. Exhibition of Marc Chagall’s recent paintings at the Musée du Louvre.
New York: Abstraction-Création, Art Non-Figuratif exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.
Spain: First democratic elections since 1936.
US: Launch of the twin spacecraft Voyager 1 and 2 to study the outer planets of the solar system.
France: Paris–Berlin exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Death of Joseph Delteil.
Retrospectives for Mark Rothko at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and Robert Motherwell at the Royal Academy of Art in London.
Paris: Paris–Moscou 1900–1930 exhibition at the Centre Pompidou. Death of Sonia Delaunay.
US: Zao Wou-Ki exhibition at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York. Franz Kline exhibition 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, signing the petition “Les artistes dégénérés contre la présence d’Arno Breker au Centre Pompidou”.
A monumental multi-panel painting by Soulages is installed at the entrance hall of the Dijon Regional Centre for Telecommunications.
Soulages returns to Japan for his retrospective at the Seibu Museum of Art in Tokyo.
Presentation of Soulages’s large-format multi-panel works by Galerie de France at FIAC in Paris.
Soulages receives the Grand Prix National de Peinture.
Soulages receives the commission for the stained-glass windows for the Abbey Church of Sainte-Foy, Conques.
Alice Pauli Gallery becomes Soulages’s dealer in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Soulages: 40 ans de peinture retrospective opens at Museum Fridericianum in Kassel, Germany. It travels to the Institut Valencià d'Art Modern, Valencia, Spain, and Musée d'Arts, Nantes, France.
Paris: Jean-Michel Atlan exhibition at the Centre Pompidou.
Paris: Zao Wou-Ki exhibition at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris. It travels to Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
US: First personal computer produced by IBM.
First reported cases of the AIDS epidemic.
Paris: Jackson Pollock and Claude Viallat exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou.
Yves Klein retrospective opens at the Rice Museum, Houston. It travels to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Solomon R.Guggenheim Museum, New York, and Centre Pompidou, Paris.
Start of the commercialization of the compact disc (CD).
Gérard Schneider retrospective at Musée d’Art et d’Histoire in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, and Musée d'Art Contemporain, Dunkirk, France.
US: Launch of the first commercially available handheld mobile phone.
Paris: Opening of the Musée Picasso (the Picasso Foundation was founded in 1988 in Malaga, Spain).
France: Death of Gérard Schneider. Opening of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.
Venice: Daniel Buren (b. 1938) represents France at the Biennale di Venezia.
Retrospectives for Mark Rothko at the Tate Gallery in London and Lucio Fontana at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
France: Death of Anna-Eva Bergman (1909–1987).
New York: Abstractions exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.
France: Inauguration of the Pyramid by I.M. Pei at the Musée du Louvre in Paris. Death of Hans Hartung.
US: Launch of the Magellan probe to study Venus.
Germany: 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.
First Soulages solo exhibition at Alice Pauli Gallery in Lausanne, 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 in Tokyo.
Soulages retrospective at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, South Korea. It travels to the National Art Museum of China, Beijing, and Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, in 1994.
Publication of the first volume of Pierre Encrevé’s 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, Conques.
Pierre Soulages: Noir lumière retrospective at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. It travels to Musée des Beaux-Arts, Montreal, and Museu de Arte, São Paulo.
Start of the Gulf War, which concludes in 1991.
US: Death of Robert Motherwell.
Start of the Yugoslav Wars, which will continue until 2001.
World Wide Web becomes available to the broader public.
France: Creation of the Foundation Hartung Bergman in Antibes.
Houston: Franz Kline exhibition at the Menil Collection.
London: Africa: The Art of a Continent exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art.
American Space Shuttle Atlantis docks on Russian space station Mir.
Spain: Opening of the Museo Guggenheim Bilbao.
New York: The New York School exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.
Paris: Mark Rothko retrospective at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
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 exhibition 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.
The renovated Musée Fabre in Montpellier opens its doors with a wing devoted to Soulages.
The Musée Soulages in Rodez is entrusted to Catalan architects Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramón Vilalta of RCR Arquitectes.
A retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in Paris organized for Soulages’s 90th birthday. The exhibition travels to Mexico and Berlin.
Publication by Éditions Hermann of Soulages’sÉcrits et propos.
The Musée Soulages, previously led by Estelle Pietrzyk, is entrusted to Benoît Decron in May.
Terrorist attacks against the US, for which Al-Qaeda later claims responsibility.
Paris: Georges Mathieu retrospective at the Jeu de Paume.
Paris: Zao Wou-Ki retrospective at the Jeu de Paume.
US: Opening of Dia Beacon by the Dia Art Foundation, created in 1974.
Start of the Iraq War, which continues until 2011.
Paris: Jean-Michel Othoniel (b. 1964) exhibition Contrepointat the Musée du Louvre.
Turin: Franz Kline exhibition at Castello di Rivoli.
New York: Between Representation and Abstraction exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.
Paris: Opening of the Musée du Quai Branly, renamed Musée du Quai Branly–Jacques Chirac in 2016.
Paris: The Musée du Louvre commissions a permanent installation from Anselm Kiefer (b. 1945), Athanor. Gustave Courbet retrospective at the Grand Palais, Paris, which travels to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Musée Fabre in Montpellier in 2008.
Riehen: Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman: The Sublime is Now! exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler near Basel, Switzerland.
The artist lays the first stone of the Musée Soulages in Rodez on October 20.
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 14 paintings to the Musée Soulages.
Solo exhibitions include Soulages XXIe siècle at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, which travels to Villa Medici in Rome.
The artist donates two tar-on-glass works (1948) to the Centre Pompidou as a sign of his friendship with and respect for Alfred Pacquement.
Inauguration of the Musée Soulages in Rodez, attended by the artist and François Hollande, 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.
Pierre Soulages is awarded the Grand Croix de la Légion d’Honneur, receiving the order in 2016.
Participation in the exhibition Los Modernos: Dialogues France/Mexico at the Museo Nacional de Arte (MUNAL), Mexico City, which travels to Museo de las Artes Universidad, Guadalajara, and Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon.
Solo exhibitions: Pierre Soulages: Le Noir, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; Soulages: Papiers, Musée Picasso, Antibes, France; Noir, c’est noir? Les Outrenoirs de Pierre Soulages, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland.
The trio of architects behind the Musée Soulages win the Pritzker Architecture Prize.
The artist 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).
Soulages participates in the exhibitions De Monet à Soulages. Chemins de la modernité (1800–1980), traveling from Tsinghua University Art Museum, Bejing, Chengdu Museum, and Wuhan Art Museum in 2017 to Musée d’Art Modern et Contemporain Saint-Étienne in 2018, and Histoires: De Courbet à Soulages, Musée Courbet, Ornans.
Pierrette Bloch bequeaths seven of Soulages’s works to the Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris. They enter the collection of the Centre Pompidou.
Solo exhibitions: Soulages: Une retrospective, Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Martigny, Switzerland (organized by the Centre Pompidou); Pierre Soulages: Le Creusot, L’Arc and Pavillon de l’Industrie, Le Creusot; Pierre Soulages: Noir – Lumière. Farbe und Geste in den 1950er Jahren, 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.
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.
Paris: Claude Lorrain (1600–1682) exhibition at the Musée du Louvre.
London: Robert Motherwell exhibition at the Bernard Jacobson Gallery.
Orléans: Gérard Schneider retrospective at the Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Orléans in France.
Paris: Sonia Delaunay retrospective at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, which travels to Tate Modern in London. Opening of the Fondation Louis Vuitton.
Paris: Terrorist attacks, for which the Islamic State (IS), 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.
Paris: Zao Wou-Ki retrospective at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
France: For Gustave Courbet’s bicentenary, three exhibitions are held at the Musée Courbet in Ornans: Courbet, dessinateur; Yan Pei-Ming face à Courbet; and Courbet/Hodler: Une rencontre.
Solo exhibitions include Soulages: Malerei 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 BronzeI and BronzeII; 17 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. A ceremony is later held at the Abbey Church of Sainte-Foy in Conques.
National tribute led by Emmanuel Macron, President of France, in the Cour Carrée of the Musée du Louvre on November 2. Soulages is buried at the Cimetière du Montparnasseon November 4.
Paris: The Musée du Louvre commissions the kinetic sculpture L’Onde du Midi by Elias Crespin (b. 1965).
New York: Degree Zero: Drawing at Midcentury exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declares the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
France: The Ministère de la Culture bestows national treasure status on 19 works of the Arts incohérents movement recovered by Johann Naldi. Opening of the Bourse de Commerce — Pinault Collection in Paris.
France: The exhibition Monet/Rothko is mounted at the at the Musée des impressionnismes, Giverny; Machu Picchu et les trésors du Pérou at the Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine, Paris; and Simon Hantaï: The Centenary Exhibition at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris.
Ukraine: Invasion by Russia, starting the ongoing war.
Mexico: Discovery of an ancient Maya city, Ocomtun, in the Yucatan Peninsula.