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Lifelong companions: A donation to La Piscine

Exhibition from 17 February to 26 May 2024

Following a donation that will be a milestone in its history, La Piscine is exhibiting a remarkable private collection, developed over half a century of research and friendly relations. The works that it contains reveal the sensitive journey by which the tastes, intellectual interests, and dreams of the collectors came to form a harmonious and unique ensemble. Mainly devoted to the 19th and 20th centuries, the donation revolves around groups of works by Victor Hugo, Cocteau, Desnoyer, Lapicque, Vieira Da Silva, Arikha and Dezeuze. Added to this are creations by Vuillard, Sima, Valentine and Jean Hugo, Dali, Bérard, Szenes, Hajdu, Gilioli, Zao Wou-Ki, Alechinsky, Sarthou, Magdeleine Vessereau, Olivier Debré, Bruce Naumann, etc., to name just a few of the artists represented. Whether it is the romantic conflagration, the asceticism of Supports/Surfaces or the radiant palette of Desnoyer, it is a journey through two centuries of artistic creation that you are invited to enjoy with Lifelong companions: a donation to La Piscine.

The exhibition also displays a wide range of techniques: sculpture, painting, drawing (ink, pencil, charcoal, pastel, wash drawing, watercolour, etc.), photography. The nuances in the domain of prints are made possible by the different etching, aquatint, drypoint or engraved wood techniques. In all, there are nearly 360 works on display. Although it includes some prestigious names, the collection stands out because of its aversion to ostentation. Keeping fashion at arm’s length, the works are first and foremost “lifelong companions” and the space they inhabit is an intimate one. Most of the donation is in fact composed of small formats, suitable for a private interior, and creations on paper. The drawings and prints draw the visitor in, thereby restoring the distance we are accustomed to between the gaze and the book. Because, and this is another of its features, the collection is influenced by its exposure to literature. Visual works by poets, portraits of writers, representations of literary scenes and illustrated books explore the horizons opened by the stroke of a pen which has already begun to draw, when it writes. This produces some striking wash drawings and cut-outs by Victor Hugo – creations on the edge of abstraction and whose modernity was appreciated by the Surrealists from very early on. Exceptionally on display this spring are the works assembled by Lifelong Companions: a donation to La Piscine that will then temporarily leave the limelight because of their fragility.

Scientific Committee: Pierre Georgel, with the help of Chantal Georgel, Dominique Lobstein, Camille Belvèze and Pauline Dubouclez
General Committee: Bruno Gaudichon, head curator, Adèle Taillefait, curator, and Alice Cornier (INP trainee)

The design was made possible thanks to generous support from the paints distributed by Tollens.

Private viewing Friday 16 February 2024 from 6pm Key: François Desnoyer (1894-1972), The Spanish bed. Around 1945. Oil on wood, 44.7 x 26 cm.
La Piscine – musée d’art et d’industrie André Diligent (André Diligent art and Industry Museum) Donation, 2023.
Photo: Alain Leprince

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