Maurice Esteve

(Culan, 1904 – 2001)


French painter born in Culan, Cher. He went to Paris in 1919 in the face of opposition from his father and took a variety of jobs, including designer for a furniture factory, while familiarizing himself with art in the Louvre. In 1923 he worked as draughtsman for a textile factory in Barcelona. On his return to Paris he studied at the Academie Colarossi. His first exhibition was held in 1930 at the Galerie Yvangot and attracted the attention of Maurice Raynal, the historian of cubism. In 1933, in reaction to the earlier flat style, he painted forms and colours dominated by green and orchestrated by the play of shadow and light.

In 1937 Robert Delaunay, who was responsible with his wife Sonia for the decoration of the aviation and railway pavilions at the Paris Universal Exhibition, requested Estève’s contribution. This was a period of intimate paintings that show a remarkable control of the summary of the composition in which figures and objects match each other. By the 1950s he was recognized as an outstanding representative of the school of Tachism whose members derived their abstractions from natural appearances in the manner taught by Roger Bossier.

Estève took part in the Venice Biennale in 1954. His œuvre, just like the works of his art colleagues Riopelle and Bazaine, established a new pictoral language: Lyrical abstractions with the aim of depicting form and color with an almost poetic attitude. His works have established themselves in many well-known museums and collections around the world.

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