Dominique Lévy, New York
April 24 - June 27, 2014
Pierre Soulages (2014) was presented jointly by Dominique Lévy and Galerie Perrotin to celebrate one of the most significant and internationally recognized contemporary French artists. By juxtaposing Soulages’s revelatory Outrenoir paintings with his important postwar works, Pierre Soulages highlighted profound connections between Europe and America in modern and contemporary art while challenging certainties on the subject.
Pierre Soulages included fourteen recent paintings from the artist’s Outrenoir series—metaphysically potent canvases with slashing black architectonics created between 1979 and 2022—alongside seminal works created in the 1950s and ’60s, all on loan from major museums and important private collections. During the years following World War II, Soulages exhibited extensively in America, establishing friendships with New York peers Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, and Helen Frankenthaler, among many others. His work thrived in the American market, championed by James Johnson Sweeney, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (previously curator at the Museum of Modern Art, New York), and by the legendary gallerist Samuel M. Kootz.
In 1979, Soulages dramatically broke with his existing style and embarked upon a new approach to painting that he called Outrenoir (“beyond black”)—removing other colors and concentrating almost exclusively on black and its relationship with light. Soulages remained devoted to his Outrenoir paintings following the inception of the series. The exhibition Pierre Soulages at Dominique Lévy coincided with the opening in late May of the Musée Soulages in Rodez, France, the artist’s birthplace.