Pierre Alechinsky b. 1927, Brussels
Oil on canvas
78 3/4 x 110 1/4 inches (200 x 280 cm)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Gift, Julian and Jean Aberbach, 1967
2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Pierre Alechinsky was a central figure in Cobra, a European artists’ group that emphasized material and its spontaneous application. The abstract and concrete often merge in his work; in Vanish (Disparaître, 1959), Alechinsky focused on the appearance and disappearance of a female figure in the center of the canvas. This emergent shape and the background coalesce into a vigorously brushed surface that is distinguished by thickly impastoed white pigment and a network of predominantly blue lines. There are still traces of the allover patterning that characterizes the artist’s watercolors and earlier canvases such as The Ant Hill (La fourmilière, 1954). His work likewise exhibits a fluidity and vitality that points to the artist’s fascination with Japanese calligraphy, which he observed during his travels to Japan in 1955.