Simon Hantaï

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"Born in Hungary, Mr. Hantaï was a major figure in European art from the 1950s onward. He was known in particular for abstract, often huge canvases that crackled with bold, saturated color punctuated by unfilled areas of pure white.Their singular appearance resulted from a method of folding and tying the canvas before applying paint, a process known as pliage, which Mr. Hantaï developed in the early 1960s."
New York Times, Simon Hantai, Painter of Silences, Dies at 85
by Margalit Fox (Sep 30, 2008)


Read An Introduction to the Folding Method

Simon Hantaï: Visual Parallels in the History of Twentieth Century Art

Watch Simon Hantaï: Crisis in Art & Commerce

Gallery Writings/Publications


1922 Born in Bia, near Budapest on December 7

1942-48 School of Fine Art, Budapest

 Simon Hantaï in 1968 (Photo: E. Boubat)

Simon Hantaï in 1968 (Photo: E. Boubat)

1948 Moves to Paris with his wife, Zsuzsa Biró

1953 First solo exhibition at the À l’Étoile Scellée gallery, presented by André Breton

1958-59 Completed the two paintings À Galla Placidia and Ecriture Rose

1960-62 The Mariales series: Hantaï painted on canvas, crumpled from edge to edge, the accessible parts with a brush. The canvas was then unfolded and stretched. These paintings were exhibited at the Galerie Kléber in 1962.

1963: Catamurons series: folding only concerns the central part of the work

1964: the Maman ! suite. Maman ! dits : La Saucisse (Mama! called: The Sausage), formed from multiple folding of the same ovoid form, was later to be titled the Panses

1966-68 Moves with his family to Meun, a village near Fontainebleau

1967-1968 Meuns series: the canvas, knotted at the four corners and at its center, is covered with mostly monochrome paint - presented at the Galerie Jean Fournier & Cie in 1968.

1969: Études series dedicated to Pierre Reverdy - monochrome, regularly-folded canvases - exhibited at the Galerie Jean Fournier

1972-1973: Blancs series (1972-1974): from then on, the unpainted surface took precedence over the coloured surface. From then on, Hantaï used acrylic colours a great deal

1973-76 First Tabulas: gridded by regular knots that produced squares (or rectangles) painted in a single colour and separated by whites held in reserve

1976 First retrospective of his work at the Musée national d’art moderne in Paris. Hantaï stopped painting for three and a half years. During the summer, at Meun, Jean-Michel Meurice directed the film Simon Hantaï ou les silences rétiniens

1979 Moved back to Paris

1980-82 Second series of 'Tabulas'. In 1980, he won the National Grand Prize for Visual Arts

1981 Exhibition at Capc de Bordeaux of his Tabulas paintings on a monumental scale

1982 Represented France at the 40th Venice Biennale. Withdrew from the participating in the artworld

1995 The Laissées (Leftovers)

1998 Exhibition Laissées et autres peintures (Leftovers and other paintings) at Espace Renn, his first time exhibiting after his withdrawal from the art world

1999 A group of folded works presented at Münster

2001 On the occasion of the exhibition Les Fables du Lieu in Fresnoy, starting from Tabulas Lilas, Hantaï had digital prints called Suaires created on canvas

2008 Simon Hantaï died aged 86 in Paris, France


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Selected Works


Gallery Writings / Publications