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Robert Couturier

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(Angoulême, 1905 – Paris, 2008)

While studying the art of Lithography in Paris, Robert Couturier was soon noticed by Aristide Maillol in 1928. Maillol was charmed by the “ugly” look of his sculptures: “Couturier, with your ugly style, you can work wonders”. Robert Couturier later became his student and friend. In the 1930s, he was awarded the Blumenthal price and participated in numerous collective exhibitions in Parisian galleries. During 1936, Georges Huisman (general director of the Beaux-Arts and President of the selection committee of the International Exhibition of art and techniques in the modern life) chose him to sculpt Le Jardinier – The Gardener – for the Trocadéro esplanade in Paris.

In 1938, he signed the manifesto “Rupture“ with the group Forces Nouvelles et Nouvelle GénérationNew Forces and New Generation. The manifesto was aimed at defending traditional craftsmanship and artistic values. Their artistic approach was to renew the representation of man. This new aesthetic had a major international impact. Robert Couturier was later featured in his first personal exhibition in London as well as collective exhibitions in Brussels and Berlin. Between 1948 and 1949, his works were presented in two significant exhibitions, uniting old and new generations of sculptors in Bern and Amsterdam. His work spread to the Biennale of Venice, Sao Paolo, and Antwerp. In 1975, the Monnaie de Paris (The Mint) organised an important retrospective by exhibiting his sculptures, drawings and medals.

Between tradition and modernity, Robert Couturier suggests a new interpretation of the human figure. As inventor of allusive sculpture, he frees himself from classical forms to offer something fresh. The feminine figure is his main source of inspiration.  He evokes the human body in a single line while using a plural language of elongated, rounded or hollow shapes. He creates dynamic works that express his drive to  construct a dialogue between shapes and spaces. He plays with matter, uses plaster, bronze and rocks, and integrates everyday objects into his sculptures. Robert Couturier’s works are a rhythmical balance between shape and matter, an equilibrium that offers the greatest freedom of interpretation.

“My greatest joy is to advocate as much humanity as possible by looking for the most minimal and simple ways of exploring matter”. Robert Couturier

Saint-Sébastien, 1999
Technique mixte
Pièce unique
32 x 6 x 6 cm

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Copyright Galerie Dina Vierny 2017