70 years of the Dina Vierny Gallery
The Dina Vierny Gallery is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, having opened on January 25, 1947. It will present, throughout 2017, exhibitions celebrating this adventure.
Text of the exhibition “70 years already”
At the end of the Second World War, in January 1947, Dina Vierny opened her gallery on rue Jacob. The young woman was just 28 years old. Model and assistant to Aristide Maillol during the last ten years of the artist’s life, who died in September 1944, and to whom she dedicated her inaugural exhibition, she also posed for Bonnard and Matisse. The latter encouraged her to create her own gallery. Another character, support of the first hour, had a decisive influence: it is Jeanne Bucher, art dealer whose gallery was held boulevard du Montparnasse. Dina Vierny frequented her during the Occupation.
“I always followed the line of conduct of my feeling, good or bad, but it was mine, not that of others. I am a dilettante, I like all forms of art. I like to take many paths. Without being afraid. Whatever the expression.
Dina Vierny claimed this powerful independence of thought and action in the choice of the artists she defended. She led a perpetual fight to defend her policy: the love of the artists who touched her, the fidelity that she devoted to them, against all odds, sometimes against the tide of the taste of her time. The anniversary exhibition organized for the 70th anniversary of the gallery does not pretend to draw up an inventory of the eclecticism of the artistic personalities presented during this period. It is much more a question of showing the transmission of a look, of the opening of this look, beyond the cleavages abstraction/figuration. Olivier Lorquin, son of Dina Vierny, has been part of this adventure for thirty years. Director of the gallery and organizer of the event, he has chosen for the occasion an audacious and emulsive confrontation between different groups of artists who cannot be compared, neither by their time nor by their styles. But, while they were forgotten, denied, even forbidden by their contemporaries, Dina Vierny knew how to defend them, to bring them to light, she fought to reveal to the public their common point: their talent, the expressive force of their modernity. This is how the French modern primitives (Bauchant, Bombois, Séraphine de Senlis, Jean Eve) and the Russian non-conformists (Yankilevsky, Rabin, Boulatov, Kabakov) as well as Poliakoff interacted on the walls.
From the plurality of these particular worlds, emerge the power and the radiation of each one of them. They do not harm each other, they enlighten each other. And their côtoiement tells us stories. We discover that the warm, quasi-abstract efflorescence of a large bouquet of Seraphine (1929-1930) converses very well with the lost fly in the blue painting of Kabakov (1974). That Jean Eve’s self-portrait (1936), timidly knocking at the door of Christian Schad’s New Objectivity, confronts and responds unambiguously to Bulatov’s cosmogonic self-portrait.
Each of these works teaches us to look at another, then back to the first, and so on, through our own intimacy, beyond time and manner. It is a tribute to the diversity of the gaze that Dina Vierny was so keen on.
The second room is more representative of new artists introduced since the 1990s by Olivier Lorquin, notably through photography, with Frank Horvat or Jerry Schatzberg. However, painting also explodes here with Nina Mushinsky’s hyper-realistic black and white oil portraits, or Ra’anan Levy’s dizzying flow of colors, a reversal of pigment pots that have become giant. This painting, entitled The River, is a discreet and clever nod to the monumental sculpture of the same name by Maillol, which is also upside down. And no doubt, the serene presence of the last work of the statuary, Harmony, placed by Dina Vierny, next to the large colored painting, ensures the quiet permanence of all the artists hanging here.