Country for PR: United Kingdom
Contributor: PR Newswire Europe
Monday, October 14 2019 - 21:54
Artprice by Artmarket: The Gagosian's Grand Projects for the Late Simon Hantaï (1922-2008)
PARIS, Oct. 14, 2019, /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/--

Yesterday, 13 October 2019, the Gagosian Gallery inaugurated its new space at 
Le Bourget on the outskirts of Paris with an exhibition dedicated to Simon 
Hantaï, whose estate the international gallery now represents worldwide. Titled 
LES NOIRS DU BLANC, LES BLANCS DU NOIR, the exhibition focuses on canvases and 
prints made between 1969 and 1997, years during which Simon Hantaï developed 
his folding (pliage) techniques. 

thierry Ehrmann, founder/CEO of Artprice by Artmarket: "It is ironic that an 
artist who sought almost all his life to escape the Art Market should return 
eleven years after his death under the aegis of the most powerful gallery on 
the planet. No doubt the battle for the privilege of representing his estate 
was tough... and this time it's the Gagosian that won. It now has 
responsibility for giving global visibility to Hantaï's work which is much more 
complex than it appears. Because behind the warm and seductive colours, there 
is a unique and profoundly spiritual work". 

Since his death in 2008, several galleries have exhibited Simon Hantaï's work 
in London and New York, and his prices have already increased considerably. 
However the Gagosian Gallery still sees enormous potential in Hantaï's market.
The first auction of an important Simon Hantaï work outside France dates back 
to 2017 when Sotheby's New York sold his Mariale m.d. 4 (1962) for $3,252,500. 
It was his third best auction result and confirmed the market's growing 
interest as it represented six times the amount fetched at Aguttes in Paris in 
June 2008 ($540,000) for the same canvas. 

However... that New York sale was exceptional: nearly 90% of Simon Hantaï's 
auction turnover is hammered in France with his works primarily changing hands 
in Paris rather than New York, London or Hong Kong. This, of course, explains 
the potential that the major international galleries – and especially the 
Gagosian – see in managing Hantaï's succession. 

In fact, Simon Hantaï's work has received relatively little exposure outside 
France, partly due to the artist himself, who after his exhibition at the 
Venice Biennale in 1982, decided to 'withdraw' from the Art Market. He did not 
show his work again until 1998, after much patient persuasion from his friend 
and gallerist Jean Fournier.

Émilie Ovaere-Corthay, director of the Jean Fournier Gallery: "Our gallery 
supported Hantaï's work throughout his life, and still does today. We respected 
his personal wishes, including his desire to withdraw from the artistic scene 
between 1982 and 1998, just when Jean Fournier opened a large space on 
Quincampoix Street in order to diffuse his work on a larger scale.

After his death in 2008, several Anglo-Saxon galleries expressed interest in 
Simon Hantaï: Paul Kasmin exhibited his work in New York in 2010, then Timothy 
Taylor in 2014 and the Mnuchin Gallery in 2015, each time in collaboration with 
the Jean Fournier gallery.

The big question is the availability of works for sale. The Gagosian will no 
doubt have access to major works, and it will also have a free hand to place 
them in important collections on a global scale, via its network of 13 
At auction, Simon Hantaï's 'best' canvases are those created when he started 
using his folding technique, particularly the series Mariale, Mur – Manteaux de 
la Vierge (1960-1962). The value of large formats (2m square meters) from this 
period currently ranges from $2 to $5 million. Canvases from the three series 
Meun (1967-1968), Etude (1969-1971) and Blanc (1973-1975) usually sell for 
close to a million dollars, although the smaller works (less than 50cm²) are 
still fetching less than $100,000 on average.

Émilie Ovaere-Corthay, again: "We tend to remember the large colored formats, 
the 'all over' patterns that elicit an immediate and physical relationship with 
the viewer. Their impact is close to the efficacy of the great American 
Abstract Expressionists.

However, it is important to remember that Simon Hantaï was primarily influenced 
by Surrealism when he arrived in Paris at the end of 1940. His roots are in 
fact literary, underpinned by a profound spirituality that grew over time. 
The 'quest' for the management of artists' estates by the major international 
galleries has allowed the rediscovery of lesser-known artists, sometimes 
misunderstood in their time. But 'knowledge' of an œuvre, in the intellectual 
and emotional sense of the term, is not necessarily related to its diffusion on 
the market. These are two different things.

From their first meeting at the beginning of the 1950s until today, the gallery 
has kept correspondence between Jean Fournier and Simon Hantaï, and has 
meticulously recorded reproductions of his works. Today these archives, 
accessible to researchers, represent a solid and essential basis for the 
certification of his works and the redaction of his catalogue raisonné and that 
is why the Jean Fournier gallery contributes to a better knowledge of his work, 
in both a patrimonial and a prospective dimension at the same time".

As of the late 1990s, Simon Hantaï himself donated many works – representative 
of the major periods in his artistic career – to the Pompidou Center and the 
Ville de Paris Musée d'Art Moderne. Several other French museums, including the 
Fabre Museum in Montpellier and the CAPC in Bordeaux, have also integrated his 
work into their collections. 

The MoMA and the National Gallery of Art in Washington both have a painting by 
Simon Hantaï, but in general his works are absent from major Anglo-Saxon 
collections. The primary role of the Gagosian Gallery will be to present this 
Franco-Hungarian artist outside Europe, and especially outside France, where 
his works have been regularly exhibited and have received plenty of attention 
from art historians and philosophers.

In L'étoilement (Conversation with Hantaï) published in 1998, Georges 
Didi-Huberman was moved to make the following touching observation which 
somehow captures the mystery of his painting: "Hantai is wary of beauty, I can 
feel it... it's in his DNA" . 

The exhibition LES NOIRS DU BLANC, LES BLANCS DU NOIR at Le Bourget, Gagosian 
From 13 Octobre 2019 until 14 March 2020 :

Simon Hantaï's Archives:

Galerie Jean Fournier:

Copyright 1987-2019 thierry Ehrmann -

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