Simon HantaïAquarelle
Watercolor on canvas
Monogrammed and dated
19.69 x 17.72 in ( 50 x 45 cm )
Inquiry - Aquarelle, 1971


Archives Simon Hantai n°2023-8


Private Collection

Erdesz & Maklary Fine Arts Gallery auction, Budapest

Kálmán Makláry Fine Arts, Budapest

Private Collection, France

Sotheby's auction, Paris


Á. Berecz, Simon Hantaï : Volume 2 : 1960 - 2001, éd.Kalman Maklary Fine Arts, 2013, p. 242

Artwork's description

This work is part of Aquarelles series presented by Jean Fournier Gallery in Paris in 1971. This series employs the folding technique, where the canvas is first treated with a whitewash, then crumpled and folded.
The visible parts are painted with multiple colours. When unfolded, the reserved white areas are revealed. His judicious use of watercolour gives an impression of lightness and fluidity, capturing the very essence of water and nature. Often created in Tondo format, reduced to the foveal task of the eye, this format examines up close the phenomena of convergence and diffraction in the folds. They appear as close, systematic examinations of unfolding and branching generated at these junction points, multiplying the optical center of the painting and a myriad of signs.
The artist believes that the works should live and endure the assaults of time and light without any special protection or frame. He even went so far as to bury some of his works in his garden before retrieving and exhibiting them as they were, stained with dust and organic debris.
Simon Hantaï's Aquarelles series portrays a poetic sensitivity and artistic mastery, where each work takes viewers on a unique emotional journey.


Artist's biography

Artist of Hungarian origin, Simon Hantaï lived in Paris between 1949 and 1959, when he painted surrealist and then gestural works. Some of his paintings carry a wide variety of working techniques such as gluing, rubbing and already folding.

His painting evokes strange anatomies, presenting intertwined forms, tangles of signs and undulations characteristic of this era. Subsequently, he experiments with gestures, scrapings, writing, etc. It was not until the 1960s that he used "folding as a method". Consequently, he paints blindly and provokes chance in the drawing of shapes and the distribution of colors.

From 1973 to 1982, Hantaï produced works he called (Tabulas). Often made in very large format, it presents a network of squares of a single color, impregnated in an irregular manner.

In 2012, there was a large retrospective at the Center Georges Pompidou, which allowed the discovery of mysterious, sensual and spiritual works, from the end of the 1940s, to the last redrawn canvases.