An Art Gallery Collection pays tribute to the great French gallery owners of the second half of the 20th century
01 Oct. 2018
At the initiative of the Professional Committee of Art Galleries, and with the support of Hermann Editions, the Collection Galeries d’art highlights, through biographies, the major actors of the history of art who defended against all economic logic emerging artistic practices, often pioneers and in rupture with the conventions of time. The first adventure told is that of Jean Fournier, a gallery owner in love with color.
For more than fifty years (1954-2006), Jean Fournier was one of the most important contemporary art gallery owners in France. To propose his biography through his love of painting and the defense of major artists such as Simon Hantaï, Joan Mitchell, Sam Francis, Shirley Jaffe or James Bishop, is also to trace the history of the French art market. In his different spaces, rue du Bac and rue Quincampoix, he highlights a new generation of painters, notably Claude Viallat, Pierre Buraglio and Bernard Piffaretti. The works of these artists that he was able to promote can be found today in the largest French public collections (led by the Centre Pompidou) and a look at the large private collections of the 1970s and 1980s also testifies to this real influence.
Far from being a simple monograph devoted to Jean Fournier, this book, illustrated with unpublished archival documents, reveals Jean Fournier’s perspicacity in espousing the cause of certain artists whom he had sensed very early on would become major figures in the history of art. From the rue du Bac to the Halles district, half a century of art forever bears the trace of his action.
The author: art critic, regular contributor and former editor-in-chief of Artpress magazine, Catherine Francblin has written several books on contemporary art and its actors, such as Les Nouveaux Réalistes (Regard, 1997). She is also the author of the first reference biography devoted to Niki de Saint Phalle, La révolte à l’œuvre (Hazan, 2013).
For the writing of Jean Fournier, un galeriste amoureux de la couleur, the historian conducted the survey among the gallery owner’s entourage: curators, art critics and artists as well as the Galerie Jean Fournier, relying on his gallery’s archives, which have remained unpublished to this day.
The Art Gallery Collection is directed by Georges-Philippe Vallois, president of the Comité Professionel des Galeries d’Art from 2011 to 2019. A second book, by Clément Dirié, dedicated to Iris Clert (1922-2006) was published in 2018.