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Pierre Soulages (French, b.1919)

Art

Also known as:  Soulages, Pierre Jean Louis

Birth Place: Rodez, Aveyron France

Biography:

Who was painter Pierre Soulages?

Pierre Soulages is a 20th century french painter whose nickname, “The Painter of Black” reflects a lifelong artistic obsession with that color. He first rose to prominence in the 1950s when he was exhibited with a number of other young painters at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum. Two years later he would be exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art. His pieces run across all forms and mediums, for almost seven years he produced over 100 stained glass windows for a church in Conques, France. 

He is considered a national treasure in his native France, but also commands respect and admiration all over the world. He was made a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1979. The Musee Fabre of Montpellier has an entire room of just Soulages’ work. He has given exhibitions at some of the best museums and galleries in the world, including the Museum of the City of Mexico, the Pompidou, and the MoMA of New York. 

What kind of art does Pierre Soulages make?

Pierre Soulages is best known for his oil and canvas paintings, which almost exclusively use thick swaths of black paint. Typically this is misinterpreted as Soulage having an obsession with the color black, Soulage himself has stated that, “My instrument is not black, but the light reflected from the black.” Doubters may say that this is a semantic argument, but viewing a Soulage painting one begins to understand the depth and intricacies of using that color. His process, defined as “outrenoir” actually translates to “beyond black.” The feeling Soulage can pull from this is primal, moving, and deeply emotional. His pieces are beautiful and absolutely one-of-a-kind.

How did painter Pierre Soulages get started?

Pierre Soulage was born in Rodez, a tiny town in the South of France. He was interested in art from an early age, even touring a number of museums for jobs prior to the start of World War II. After the war, Soulage opened a studio in Paris. He supplemented his income as a painter by working as a designer on a number of stage sets. Acclaim would soon come from across the pond, when Soulage exhibited with a number of other young artists at the Guggenheim for their Younger European Painters series. It was all the boost Soulages would need, the rest of the century belonged to him. 

How much are Pierre Soulages paintings worth?

Pierre Soulages paintings are extremely valuable. On the high end, they can sell for as much as 11 million dollars, while even his minor works sell for several thousands of dollars. The most ever paid for a Soulages piece was $11,120,640 on November 27th, 2019 for the piece Paint 200 X 162 CM, March 14, 1960 (1960). It’s a beautiful example of a classic Soulages, thick, almost three dimensional swaths of paint creating texture and meaning and above all else a feeling of the primal in man. He has sold a number of other paintings for well over a million dollars, potential collectors would be wise to take a look at any of his pieces when they become available at auction. 

Where to buy Pierre Soulages paintings for sale?

See works for sale below. Why buy from Heritage? Art buyers feel confident because our experts know the market and put careful valuations on artwork for sale. We make the bidding process easier to help you expand your art collection.

How to value Pierre Soulages paintings?

The best way to value art is to compare past auction prices for similar works. View past sale prices below. When you’re ready to sell, contact Heritage Auctions to request an auction estimate of the likely selling price at auction. If you need a formal written appraisal for estate planning or insurance, please contact our Appraisal Services department.


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