Lévy Gorvy Representing Martial Raysse
February 12, 2018
Dominique Lévy and Brett Gorvy, cofounders of Lévy Gorvy, announced today that the gallery will represent French artist Martial Raysse in the United States. A key figure within the European neoavant-garde, Raysse is a self-taught artist who first achieved recognition as a painter in the late 1950s in Nice, collaborating with such peers as Arman, Yves Klein, and Ben Vautier. Acclaimed as an antecedent to Pop, the bold work of Raysse is often exhibited alongside that of such American and British artists as Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Richard Hamilton, among others.
Portraiture has been an important aspect of Raysse’s practice throughout his career, and has been central to the relevance of his work through the decades, even after his departure from the art world in the 1970s. In 1960, Raysse became one of the founding members of Nouveau Réalisme, a collective of artists led by critic Pierre Restany. Moving between Paris, New York, and Los Angeles over ensuing years, Raysse created works that subtly critiqued consumer culture through their incorporation of media imagery and store-bought products, in a practice many historians cite as a precursor to American Pop. He soon became a figure of international stature, notably with the 1962 debut of Raysse Beach at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
Galvanized by the events of May 1968, a period marked by civil unrest and protests in France, Raysse returned to Paris to join the student-led demonstrations. He declared his rupture with the official art world in 1970, citing discouragement with the movement’s failure to enact revolutionary change. But in the late 1970s, he bravely returned to painting with renewed intensity, creating dream-like landscapes and portraits in lush, sumptuous colors. His singular and prolific painting practice has continued to the present day, defined by increasingly large-scale compositions layered with allusions to art history, mythology, and literature, with a particular emphasis on portraiture. Contemporary artists, including many at mid-career, have demonstrated a renewed interest in figuration. Raysse’s oeuvre may be credited as a significant source of inspiration for this new generation.
Lévy Gorvy’s first exhibition with the artist will be Martial Raysse: Visages, opening February 28th at the gallery’s New York City space. Focusing of the subtleties of appearance, or visage, the exhibition will showcase over twenty recent paintings, many never before exhibited, alongside Portrait de Gabriella la jolie vèntienne (1963), an exceptional work that anchors Raysse’s decadeslong engagement with the art historical tradition of portraiture and celebrates his unique position as a contemporary classical painter.
Dominique Lévy commented: “I have known and deeply admired Martial Raysse for over a decade, and have been involved with his work for over 25 years. He has always understood the fabric of society in an uncanny way, and he has been able to channel his perception of the world into an art that is consistently surprising, challenging but lyrical. It is a tremendous honor to rep- -resent Martial in the United States and to work with him to share his vision with broader audiences and new generations.”
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