Georges Bernède: The Advent of Abstraction in Bordeaux

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WHITFORD F I N E A R T 6 DUKE STREET ST. JAMES’S LO N D O N S W 1 Y 6 B N TEL.+44(0)20 7930 9332 info@whitfordfineart.com w w w. w h i t f o r d f i n e a r t . c o m

GEORGES BERNÈDE



Bernede Pages 2012_Whitford 10/10/2012 15:22 Page 1

GEORGES BERNÈDE

14 November – 21 December 2012

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WHITFORD F I N E A R T

6 DUKE STREET ST. JAMES’S LONDON SW1Y 6BN TEL. +44 (0)20 7930 9332 EMAIL info@whitfordfineart.com www.whitfordfineart.com


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GEORGES BERNÈDE The advent of Abstraction in Bordeaux

Born in 1926, Georges Bernède started painting in 1942 under the influence of the established Bordeaux painter Mildred Bendall (1891-1977). Drawing on Bendall’s training with Henri Matisse, Bernède first adhered to figurative expression rooted in the Cubism of André Lhote, whilst using strong colour as building blocks. His disapproval of black tracing for shadows paved the way for his researches into Abstraction during the 1950s, when he witnessed the break-up of the Bordeaux avant-garde. Whereas the publication of the ‘Abstraction-Creation’ yearbooks established Abstraction as a movement in Paris during 1932-1936, Bordeaux’s modern artists represented in the ‘Indépendants bordelais’ did not value its creative virtues until the late 1940s. When some radical members started to champion the Abstract works of Roger Bissière it caused severe tensions in the group, finally leading to its break-up in 1955. The conclusion of the long-established patron of the Bordeaux avant-garde left a permanent schism in the local artistic landscape, with the orthodox Abstractionists regrouping in ‘Structures’ as their semi-figurative ‘enemies’ founded ‘Le Regard’. During these developments Bernède investigated the boundaries of Abstraction, but still showed at ‘Le Regard’, endorsed by Mildred Bendall. By 1958 however, his researches had pushed him to Abstraction and in his continuous search to express the essence of life to and to establish an analogy to musical rhythm, Bernède gradually grew to gestural painting, first with colour, then partnered with a black and white palette. These works have a dynamic, spontaneous and dramatic impact through the energetic application of the paint, whilst remaining deceptively subtle. Bernède’s paintings are easily accessible for they evoke the collective sense of an archetypal visual language, and aid a civilisation’s understanding of the world through heightened selfconsciousness and awareness, a concept adopted by the Action painters from Freud and Jung. Although his work bears obvious similarities to that of Franz Kline, Bernède was never an imitator, for with Matisse and Lhote as a starting point, his style evolved instinctively through disciplined research and progress, as his artistic development over the years testifies.

An Jo Fermon, November 2012

Front cover: Composition 84 - 30 1984 (oil on canvas, 65 x 50 cm, cat. no.1) Back cover: Composition 91 1991 (oil on canvas, 65 x 50 cm, cat. no.10)


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11 Composition 84-17 1984 Oil on canvas, 100 x 81 cm Signed and dated lower right, signed and dated verso


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22 Composition 58 1958 Oil on canvas, 55.5 x 50 cm Signed and dated verso


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12 Composition 89-40 1989 Oil on canvas, 65 x 50 cm Signed and dated lower right, signed and dated verso


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Composition 81-4 1981 Oil on canvas, 81 x 100 cm Signed and dated lower right, signed and dated verso

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Composition 80-32 1980 Oil on canvas, 54 x 73 cm Signed and dated lower right


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Composition 84-1 1984 Oil on canvas, 61 x 28 cm Signed and dated lower right, signed and dated verso


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Composition 92 1992 Oil on canvas, 65 x 50 cm Signed and dated lower right, signed and dated verso


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17 Composition 85-7 1985 Oil on canvas, 116 x 89 cm Signed and dated lower right, signed and dated verso


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20 Composition 58 1958 Oil on canvas, 41.5 x 63 cm Signed lower right

21 Composition 58 1958 Oil on canvas, 38.5 x 53.5 cm Signed and dated lower right


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Composition 84-18 1984 Oil on canvas, 104 x 94 cm Signed and dated lower centre, signed and dated verso


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Composition 84-62 1984 Oil on canvas, 65 x 50 cm Signed and dated lower right


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15 Composition 84-22 1984 Oil on canvas, 89 x 116 cm Signed and dated lower right, signed and dated verso

18 Composition 88-9 1988 Oil on canvas, 97 x 130 cm Signed and dated lower right, signed and dated verso


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24 Composition 64-2, Nature Morte Ă la Chaise Bleue 1964 Oil on canvas, 92 x 73 cm Signed and dated lower right, signed and dated verso


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25 Composition 2011

26 Composition 2011

Ink on paper, 76 x 56.5 cm

Ink on paper, 76 x 56.5 cm

Signed and dated lower centre

Signed and dated lower centre

29 Composition 2011

27 Composition 2011

Ink on paper, 32 x 24 cm

Ink on paper, 29.5 x 21 cm

Signed and dated lower centre

Signed and dated lower centre


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16 Composition 84-6 1984 Oil on canvas, 97 x 130 cm Signed and dated lower right, signed and dated verso

Š Whitford Fine Art Edited by An Jo Fermon Curated by Gabriel Toso Produced by Artmedia Press Ltd • London



WHITFORD F I N E A R T 6 DUKE STREET ST. JAMES’S LO N D O N S W 1 Y 6 B N TEL.+44(0)20 7930 9332 info@whitfordfineart.com w w w. w h i t f o r d f i n e a r t . c o m

GEORGES BERNÈDE