Auguste Herbin

Composition

Oil on canvas: 45.7(h) x 28.7(w) in /

116.2(h) x 73(w) cm

Signed and dated lower centre: fév 1916 herbin; signed and dated on the reverse: 8 fév. 1916 / herbin

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BX 145

 

AUGUSTE HERBIN

Quiévy 1882 – 1960 Paris

 

Composition

 

Signed and dated lower centre: fév 1916 herbin; signed and dated on the reverse: 8 fév. 1916 / herbin

Oil on canvas: 45 ¾ x 28 ¾ in / 116.2 x 73 cm

Frame size: 55 ½ x 38 ½ in / 141 x 97.8 cm

In a modern black and gold Cassetta frame

 

Provenance:

Private collection

Galerie l’Effort Moderne, Léonce Rosenberg, Paris

Palais Galliera, Paris, 12th June 1972, lot 46

Galerie Félix Vercel, Paris, 1976;

Consul Simo Kuntsi (1913-1984), Vaasa, Finland, purchased from the above in 1976;

Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art, Vaasa, Finland, gifted by the Simo Kuntsi Foundation in 1984

 

Exhibited:

Paris, Galerie Félix Vercel, Cubistes, May-June 1976

Vaasa, Finland, Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art, Kuntsin ikonit 1, 3rd February–27th May 2007 Espoo, Finland, EMMA Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Afrikan voima – kolme näkökulmaa / The Power of Africa: Three Perspectives, 24th February–6th June 2010

 

Literature:

Geneviève Claisse, Herbin, Catalogue Raisonné de l’oeuvre peint, Les Éditions du Grand-Pont, Lausanne 1993, p.339, no.338 illus.

 

 

This extraordinary work, recently de-accessioned from the Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art, Vaasa, is one of two canvases painted by Auguste Herbin in 1916, its original owner, Léonce Rosenberg, one of Cubism’s major champions during and after the First World War. Rosenberg’s celebrated Galerie L’Effort Modern opened at 19 Rue de la Baume with a solo exhibition of Herbin’s work in March 1918, the start of a series of one-man shows by the Masters of Cubism. Suspicious of the commercial aspects of the art world, Herbin signed a three-year contract with Rosenberg in April 1916, marking the beginning of a long period of close personal and professional relations.

 

Between 1915 and 1921, Herbin developed a unique form of synthetic Cubism prior to completely embracing the principles of abstraction. His works from this period contain pure geometrical elements executed in bright colours, his palette still affected by the ideals of the Fauves with whom he had worked prior to his conversion to Cubism. Herbin’s work is considered to be a union of art and nature; a keen horticulturist, his colour theory is based on the observation and interpretation of the colours of vegetation and flowers. The organic, superimposed shapes in these works are often quite detailed and we can see in the present painting a number of patterned forms that resemble pieces of fabric. This is perhaps a reference to Herbin’s early years working in a textile factory where he first developed his strong personal vision of form and colour.

 

                           

Auguste Herbin, Stilleven, 1913                 Auguste Herbin, Dessert, c1912-13

Oil on canvas: 55 x 33 cm                       Oil on canvas: 45 7/8 x 35 1/8 in / 116.3 x 89.2 cm

Kröller-Müller Museum                          MoMA, New York

The Netherlands

 

 

 


AUGUSTE HERBIN

Quiévy 1882 – 1960 Paris

 

Auguste Herbin was born on 29th April 1882 in Quiévy, a small village in northern France near the Belgian border. From 1898 to 1901 Herbin studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Lille. Influenced by the Impressionists and Fauve painters, he moved to Paris, working in relative isolation but exhibiting several paintings at the Salon des Indépendents in 1906. After 1909 Herbin’s work underwent a major stylistic change following his move to the Bateau Lavoir Studios, where he met Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and Juan Gris and began his painterly investigation into Cubism. He exhibited again at the Salon des Indépendents in 1910, where his paintings were hung alongside the work of several other prominent Cubist painters, including Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes and Fernand Léger. In 1912 Herbin’s paintings were exhibited at the influential Salon d’Or and in the same year he held his first one-man show at the Galerie Clovis Sagot in Paris.

 

Through each of these alliances, Herbin gradually turned to Cubism, producing his first Cubist painting in 1913. However, by 1917 he had progressed beyond painting in this style in favour of creating works of an abstract nature using pure geometry. It was at this time that Herbin was adopted by the art dealer Léonce Rosenberg, who introduced him to the group of artists centred around his Galerie de l’Effort Moderne. Rosenberg exhibited Herbin’s work there on numerous occasions between 1918 and 1921. 

 

In the years following, Herbin alternated between artistic styles, returning to a more figurative style of painting between 1922 and 1925. In 1926 he revisited abstraction, which he continued to develop up to (and beyond) 1931, when he co-founded the artists’ association Abstraction – Création. In 1949 Herbin published L’Art Non- Figuratif Non Objectif, in which he explained his ‘alphabet plastique’, a compositional system of painting abstract art founded on the structure of letters, of which the pure geometrical shapes and positive colours continued to have much influence over the following generation of artists. In 1953 Herbin suffered a lateral paralysis, but continued to paint using his left hand alone. He died in Paris on 31st January 1960. 

Auguste Herbin