Auguste Herbin


Gouache on paper
Signed and dated


Dans les années 1940-1950, Herbin invente son "alphabet plastique" : une méthode de composition qui part d'un répertoire de 26 couleurs, correspondant chacune à une lettre et à des formes géométriques (triangle, cercle, demi-cercle, quadrilatère) ainsi qu'à une sonorité. Par exemple, la lettre I est associée à un cercle et un triangle, à la couleur orange et à la sonorité ré. Il peint alors ses oeuvres à partir d'un mot, qu'il traduit dans ce nouvel alphabet.



Carl Laszlo, Bale, Suisse

 Sotheby's Auction, Paris

Auguste Herbin

Auguste Herbin, from a family of weavers, was born on April 29, 1882, in a small village near the Belgian border. As a result, the painting of this Frenchman from the north of France is also distinguished by its artisanal character. From 1900, the artist studied at the School of Fine Arts in Lille before moving to Paris where he first joined the Impressionists and Fauves.
Auguste Herbin, Braque and Picasso's studio neighbor, also studied Cubism, whose influence led him to create his first Cubist paintings in 1913. His work led to a non-figurative geometrical phase from 1917 onwards. evolving towards constructivism with the exception of an interruption in 1922 when the painter returned briefly to a figurative way of painting.
At the end of the war, Auguste Herbin is co-founder and vice-president and eventually became president of the "Salon des Réalités Nouvelles" from 1955. The study of the Italian Trecento encourages Herbin to devote himself to concrete painting composed of Simple geometrical shapes with flat areas of pure colors from 1938. The artist conceives in 1946 the "plastic alphabet", a system of composition based on the structure of the letters and which constitutes the base of the organization of his paintings. In his 1949 work "Non-Figurative non-objective art", Herbin presents this aspect as well as his theories of colors inspired in part by Goethe's color theory.
Because of hemiplegia, Herbin must learn from 1953 to paint with the left hand. The architectonic ideas characteristic of Herbin's work and his qualities of colorist allow the artist to already enjoy a strong reputation internationally both during the pre-war period and afterwards.
The artist is represented in New York during a major exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in 1979. Auguste Herbin died on January 31, 1960 in Paris. Following his sudden disappearance, a painting remains unfinished and bears the title "End".

Composition, 1946