The Museum of Modern Art in Paris is devoting an important retrospective to Eugene Leroy that brings together around one hundred and fifty works

Eugene Leroy
Eugene Leroy at the MAM

One of the greatest artists of the 20th century

Although his work remained confidential for a long time, Eugène Leroy is one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. It was not until 1988 that his first major Parisian exhibition took place, in this same Museum of Modern Art and within the same spaces of the ARC. The production of this painter, born in Tourcoing in 1910 and died in 2000, developed over more than sixty years based as much on the feeling of reality as on an ideal vision of painting.

Eugene Leroy

A long process of creation

Attached to the old masters and deliberately anachronistic, Eugène Leroy revisited traditional iconographic subjects throughout his life such as nudes, self-portraits, still lifes or landscapes. Beyond a retrospective, the itinerary of the exhibition, organized by theme, highlights the complexity of a long process of creation and pictorial research. Each canvas presents itself to him as a real battlefield where s confront image and matter. Conceiving painting as a surface in depth, he brings together, layer after layer, all of the momentary impressions aroused by the motif. Reworked tirelessly until the almost disappearance of the subject, the paintings of Eugène Leroy then open up to indefinitely renewed readings. He reworks his canvases, sometimes over several years, until the subject almost disappears.

Forty paintings and drawings of Eugene Leroy

The difficulty of detecting the painted motif at first glance allows the viewer to dwell on the physical presence of the work. His painting was “an act of memory, a projection forward, through the present darkness of history”, to use the beautiful expression of the poet Yves Bonnefoy about Rimbaud. The works of Eugène Leroy are present in the largest public and private collections, in France and abroad. With some forty paintings and drawings that have entered its collections thanks to regular purchases and donations since 1988, the Museum of Modern Art in Paris is considered today as a place of reference for the artist.


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