Jean Michel Atlan - Ohne Titel
Jean Michel Atlan
Oil on canvas 73 x 116 cm Framed. Signed and dated 'Atlan 58' in black lower right. - Inconspicuous craquelure in the pastose white areas.
“With me it's rhythm, not superficial line rhythm, but the rhythm that creates forms, a rhythm that encounters coloured matter in a field of contradiction and resistance. [...] My work: perseverance, the invention of forms arising from more and more liberated rhythms but which nonetheless take place in an area of very articulate architecture.” (Atlan, cited in: Jacques Polieri, Atlan. Catalogue Raisonne of the complete works, Paris 1996, p. 641).
In the final years of the 1950s - after he had achieved his international breakthrough as well as recognition for his specific accomplishment and his individual contribution to the development of abstract painting in France - the artist nonetheless began to make an increasing number of statements shortly before his early death, at the age of 47, in which he sought to set his work apart and counter its direct assimilation through the all too fashionable concepts of the then-thriving art business and the “Ecole de Paris”. Atlan was of Algerian descent and saw himself as rooted in the art of Africa; he felt a closer kinship with the remote art of the Assyrians and Etruscans and finally referred to himself as a “shaman” whose art was, so to speak, comprised of wildness, magic, energetic abundance and primal forces. He equated his painting with abstract dance and the absolute “rhythm”.
In 1958 Atlan had withdrawn to the country and was sometimes working simultaneously on multiple canvasses in his new studio: these then merged into impulsively dynamic diptychs and triptychs. His painting drew its dynamism from its format and the tautening of its internal structure, from the antagonism between line and shape, ground and figure - in his best pictures, his individual colour backgrounds and his black symbols on the picture plane enter into a seemingly enchanted spatial dialogue. However, it is not so much harmonious as disruptive and vigorous elements and movements which guide his expression.
Private collection; Loudmer, Paris, Auction 20 June 1985, Lot XV.; Private collection; Galerie Sander, Darmstadt (with stretcher label); Private collection, Hesse
French Studies Contemporary Art, USA, Yale University 1958 (according to information from Polieri)