Georges Mathieu, born in France in 1921, started painting during W.W. II while working as an interpreter for the American Army and a teacher. By war’s end he was developing a series of manifestos that would influence the future of abstract painting. They were published in 1947 and contained a concept that Mathieu termed “lyrical abstraction”—a break from the rigid geometries of Cubism and De Stijl. Believing that painting should be executed in moments of emotional abandon, with gesture more important than intent, Mathieu had hit on his own form of action painting. The revered American art critic Clement Greenberg called him “the strongest of all new European painters.” In the first U.S. retrospective of Mathieu, Nahmad Contemporary and Perrotin, in collaboration with the artist’s estate, present never-before-seen paintings as well as museum loans by this pivotal, performative modernist. —E.C.
Work in the exhibition is also on view at Nahmad Contemporary, 980 Madison Avenue, New York.
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