Gérard Schneider at the turn of the 50s: Group Exhibition

7 June - 13 October 2018

With a selection of artworks from:

Lucio FONTANA / Hans HARTUNG / Willem De KOONING / Gérard SCHNEIDER / Bernar VENET


Abstraction is freedom from all external conditioning, it is the culmination of an individual creative process, of personal development of which the forms belong to me alone. I will assimilate this system with musical improvisation.



The gesture, like an internal impulse using free and expressive handling, creates colour on the canvas of Gérard Schneider. Standard-bearer and precursor of “Lyrical Abstraction”, Gerard Schneider, follows by Hans Hartung, Pierre Soulages and Georges Mathieu stand up for recognization for their art in September 1947 at the 2nd Salon des Réalités Nouvelles. They opposed geometric abstraction and championed the spontaneity of the lyrical gesture. Their recent paintings were written about extensively by the critic Jean-José Marchand who used the terms “abstractivistes lyriques” for the first time. In this way, Lyrical Abstraction was born from the gestures of artists and the words of critics.


At the turn of the 1950s Schneider achieved a gestural expression in which forms and colours erupt with strength, emotion, passion in a modern romanticism where instantaneity dominates. To discuss his creation or describe it is akin to music criticism. He gave an opus number as the title to several of his works Opus 400 and Opus 494… Colours provide the tone, place the chords and tend towards the outbreak of forms to give life to its sole existence (Opus 73.C). A palette in which red, blue, purple, black are predominant. His intense lines with the brush try to capture the fugitive instant and free mysterious forces that inhabit the painter, stimulating a chromaticism served by dense and rich paint (Opus 71C). For him, painting on canvas had as much strength as painting on paper. Here, he has associated gouache and pastel with india ink (WP 85). The spontaneity of the creative act meets a structural dynamic in Schneider works.


Conversely, a tragic intensity and rebellious character hover over Hartung works of the 1950s. The line is solid but elegant, like “weaving” in the works of 1959.  Bundles of black or thick coloured bars, under the influence of supple and quick brushstrokes against a neutral background, spout from these works, the rhythm of the lines intensifies, going as far as to suggest tufts and wreaths. On the contrary, in T.52-37, ideograms emerge from a neutral background, but like Oriental calligraphy, the line in Hartung is pressing and denies any decorative character.


Like the Lyrical Abstraction of Gérard Schneider and Hans Hartung, Willem de Kooning’s Abstract Expressionism and Lucio Fontana’s informal art assert themselves. If the start of the 1950s is identified as the spring of gesture and abstraction, the 1960s is the period of climax of energetic and absolute abstraction all over Europe and across the Atlantic. When de Kooning’s paintings participated in a free and expressive gesture, Bernar Venet was creating his tars and trash where drops and traces reflect an energetic and involuntary expressivity.


Gérard Schneider like Hans Hartung exhibited after 1947, one after the other at the Galerie Lydia-Conti and then with Louis-Carré in Paris. They were both participants in the travelling exhibition “Französischer abstrakter Melerei ” of 1948 around 7 German cities, thus encouraging the renewal of abstraction in Germany. The same year, Gérard Schneider was invited to the Venice Biennale, where he was considered one of the most significant artists of the avant-garde.


Samuel Le Paire Fine Art is delighted bring together a selection of works from the 1950s by Gérard Schneider and to place it in the context of works by Hans Hartung, Willem de Kooning, Bernar Venet and Lucio Fontana in order to present you its new exhibition Gérard Schneider, at the turn of the 1950s.