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Jacques Germain

Lyrical abstraction


Jacques Germain was born in Paris in 1915. This French painter was a leading member of the Abstraction Lyrique group in post-war Paris, along with Georges Mathieu, Vieira da Silva and Jean-Paul Riopelle.
Jacques Germain trained at the Académie Moderne under Fernand Léger and Amédée Ozenfant. In October 1931, young Jacques arrived at the Bauhaus and stayed for a year, with Vassily Kandinsky as his teacher. Interestingly, Jacques Germain was the only Frenchman to study at the Bauhaus in Dessau. In July 1932, he returned to Paris by bicycle.

In October 1932, he returned to Germany to live in Frankfurt, where he studied with constructivist painter Willi Baumeister. It was in Frankfurt that Jacques Germain met literary critic and translator Marthe Robert, his future wife.

When war broke out in 1939, the artist was taken prisoner and spent at least three years in captivity.
After the war, Jacques Germain devoted himself fully to art and painting. In 1947, he exhibited for the first time at the Salon des Surindépendants. Jacques Germain's painting can be seen as an exacerbated artistic and gestural expression, a powerful and moving style. The actor, writer and essayist Antonin Artaud was his great friend.

In 1948, Germain was already part of the avant-garde, exhibiting with Jean Arp, Camille Bryen, Jean Fautrier, Georges Mathieu, Francis Picabia, Hans Hartung, Otto Wols and Antoni Tàpies in an exhibition entitled "Blanc et Noir" at the Galerie des Deux Îles in Paris.

In 1949, he had his first solo exhibition in Paris. In the same year, he exhibited with Pierre Soulages at the Atelier de Maywald. In 1951, he exhibited at the same venue with Sonia Delaunay, Vassily Kandinsky, Pierre Soulages, Alberto Magnelli and Hans Hartung.

Building on these experiences and his reputation as a non-figurative painter, Jacques Germain had numerous solo exhibitions in various galleries: Maeght, Michel Warren, André Schoeller, Jacques Massol, Arnoux, Barbier-Beltz, Pierre Loeb, Dina Vierny and Kriegel.

He has also taken part in museum exhibitions in France and around the world: "Le Mouvement dans l'art Contemporain" at the Musée de Lausanne in 1955; "Carnegie Prize" in Pittsburgh in 1955; "Exposition Internationale de l'Art Abstrait" in Paris in 1957; "Ecole de Paris" in Mannheim in 1959; "International Modern Art" in Dublin in 1962; "Ecole de Paris" in Cologne in 1962. More recent retrospectives were held at the Couvent des Cordeliers in 1997 and at Hanina Fine Arts in London in 2005.

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