Painter Pierre Soulages, master of the colour black, dies at 102 

1 min read
Pierre Soulages in Rodez, France. October 14, 2016. Credit line: Profimedia

The French painter Pierre Soulages, who used the colour black almost exclusively in his works, has died at the age of 102, city officials in his birthplace of Rodez in the south of France said on Wednesday.

The artist left behind a collection of work that spans over 1,500 paintings and several hundred graphic works.

His minimalist style made him internationally renowned early in life.

Born in 1919, the son of a carriage maker, his works were already shown in the first exhibition of French painters in 1948 in Germany.

Later, in 1955, he took part in the first documenta art fair in the city of Kassel, in central Germany. The event has since become one of the most prestigious events on the contemporary art world’s calender.

Soulage’s first retrospective exhibitions in international museums took place as early as the 1960s.

While the French artist initially utilized the colour black to create light effects with white and other colours, from 1979 onwards Soulages began to cover his canvases exclusively with black and experimented with using black to reflect light.

The end product often resulted in many large panels joined together, in which the structure of the thickly-applied black paste modulated the light.

“Outrenoir,” French for “beyond black,” is what Soulages called these compositions, which have defined his work ever since.

Soulages left more than 500 works to his home town during his lifetime, some of which can be seen today in the Soulages Museum, which opened in Rodez in 2014. ©dpa

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