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Jacques Germain

Born in 1915


Jacques Germain is an artist born in Paris on January 13, 1915. This French painter is a prominent 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 1931, Blaise Cendrars and Fernand Léger approached his parents to advise them to enroll their son at the Bauhaus in Dessau, Germany. In October 1931, the young Jacques arrived at the Bauhaus and stayed there for a year, with Vassily Kandinsky as his teacher. It is interesting to note that Jacques Germain is the only Frenchman to have studied at the Bauhaus in Dessau. In July 1932, he returned to Paris by bicycle.

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

With the arrival of the Nazis in power in Germany, the painter returned to Paris where he began to work in advertising design. In September 1936, he did his military service. 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 in his life at the Salon des Surindépendants. Jacques Germain's painting can be considered 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 the 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 place with Sonia Delaunay, Vassily Kandinsky, Pierre Soulages, Alberto Magnelli, Hans Hartung.

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

He also participated in museum exhibitions in France and around the world: "Le Mouvement dans l'art Contemporain" at the Museum of 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 recently, retrospectives were held at the Couvent des Cordeliers in 1997 and at Hanina Fine Arts in London in 2005.

Roger Van Gindertael said of him: "Germain's painting is of savory substance and his colored harmonies are of exceptional symphonic complexity and tonal vibrance. Jacques Germain represents, with a particular clarity, the impressionist concept adapted to abstraction. Certainly, he is in the lineage of brilliant elders whose names are Ubac, Manessier, Bazaine or Le Moal."

Jacques Germain died in 2001 and left behind masterpieces of abstract art. In 2002, in accordance with his wishes, he bequeathed the entire contents of his studio to the French National League Against Cancer.

His art is represented in several museums, including the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris, as well as the Musée des beaux-arts in Lille, Bremen, Bergen, Lausanne and Oslo.

"The composition is not for me pre-established, it is a creation and a writing simultaneously and the solution of a conflict which lasts all the time of the execution of the painting." Jacques Germain

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