Indochina [1898 – 1984]

3 July - 25 August 2016
Shanghai, China
Galerie DUMONTEIL presents, for the first time, an exhibition dedicated to the drawings of André MAIRE, an emblematic french painter-traveler and an important figure of decorative painting in the 20th century. More than twenty works on paper created during his second stay in Indochina (1948-1958) will be on view in the gallery space in Shanghai.

Dumonteil Shanghai is pleased to present “André Maire: Indochine.” This will be the first exhibition in China of Maire’s work following three retrospectives in Europe: the Musée Cernuschi (Paris, 2012-13), the Musée de La Piscine (Roubaix, 2009), and the Musée of the 30s (Boulogne-Billancourt, 2001).

Encompassing more than twenty drawings that André Maire created during the last trip of his life in Indochina, this will be the exploitation of the work of this adventurous, contemplative and humanist artist. From Laos, Cambodia to Vietnam, the work of Maire offers a poetic and sensitive regard to the places that inspired him. He usually drew a lot of croquis during his trips as a rich documentation for developing them later in greater format, combined with his memories and imagination. In this series, based on the study of the Khmer Art and the Buddhist belief, as well as the observation of cultural sites and people’s daily life, André Maire used fusain for the overall landscape, and sanguine for highlights, by depicting buddhas, rare species, exotic architecture and natural scenery he profoundly respect the civilisation, vividly present the variety of human culture. The dawn of 20th century was marked by several revolutionary art movements, but André Maire consistently focused on the figurative reality, playing a role of a curious explorer. Observing his works is not only entering his world, but staring and experiencing our common world. An important figure of Art Déco in the 20th century, André Maire (1898 - 1984, Paris) is qualified as a Painter-Traveller. He followed the course at a young age at the Beaux-Art of Paris, where he met his mentor and future father-in-law, Émile Bernard, an important postimpressionist painter and writer, though he belonged to no school. Bernard inspired him a lot and trained him with a classical art formation from the techniques of paintings, to the use of colors and the importance of the composition. The high technique qualities of Maire’s drawings show the influence from the greatest Italian drawers, especially the works of Le Piranesi. From an early stage, he has already found his own artistic style and relieved himself of all influence.

Maire’s long artistic career is closely connected to his numerous trips through the whole life. Mobilised for the First World War, he is sent to French Indochina in Vietnam. He became a professor for arts in the College of Saigon. When he was in Vietnam, he travelled in Cambodia and discovered the place that fascinated him the most — Angkor. He did a lot of drawings of the Angkor site which were used for the great Colonial Exhibition of 1931 in Paris. Back in France, he travelled a lot in Italy, especially Venice, and Spain. Between 1938 and 1945, he travelled in Egypt, India, Ceylon and Africa. From 1948 to 1955 he worked again as an art professor in Saigon at the Superior School of Architecture. He produced a lot of orientalist drawings and decorative panels on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, in the art-deco style, very modern, pure and stylised. He is famous for his charcoal drawings, water colours and gouaches, and also his inks and sepias.

His works are in numerous museums’ permanent collection. In 1934, the painting “Le pont de Tolède” was acquired by Musée National d’Art Moderne (Centre Pompidou); in 1936, the city of Paris acquired the painting “Espagne - Pont à Cuenca”; in 1945, Musée des Colonies bought the works on Egypte and India; the drawings on Angkor were acquired by Musée Guimet (Musée National des Arts asiatiques); the drawings on Africa and Asia were acquired by Musée du Quai Branly and Musée d’art moderne de Troyes ; the work “La Citadelle du Caire” is now at Musée de La Piscine, Roubaix.

The work of André Maire is rich, solid, constructed and evolutionary. The collection of wood engravings named Saigon, the Italian and Venetian landscape in sepia, the Africa, the Angkor and the Laos, his paintings are not just the reappearance of sites but the respect, interpretation, and hymn of different cultures. Therefore his travels and works appealed many attentions and were supported in multi aspects. Inspired by the memories of travel, he continued his creations until the end of his life, which also reveals his passion for life and forever vivid curiosity to the world.

The accompanying publication, edited by Galerie Dumonteil, will include the extraits of essay by Lorédana Harscoët-Maire; reprinted text by Bruno Gaudichon & Josette Galiègue, curators of the 2008 retrospective at Musée de La Piscine.