ParisCompagnons de Route
TRIBAL ART – BISSIÈRE – CHAPOVAL – DÉCHELETTE – DUBUFFET JORN – PAGAVA – REICHEL – STAËL – SZENES – TOBEY – VIEIRA DA SILVA
Beginning on May 22, the Centre Pompidou pays tribute to several major modern and contemporary art dealers in France from 1905 to the end of the 1960s. In dialogue with this exhibition, in which one room is devoted to Jeanne Bucher, founder of the gallery, the gallery presents its latest exhibition, Compagnons de Route, so dear to Jean-François Jaeger. Jaeger took over the gallery in 1947 following Jeanne Bucher’s death in 1946, and tirelessly supported “his” Companions for over 60 years.
In the Spring of 2000, Jean-François Jaeger paid tribute to these artists with an exhibition entitled Dialogue avec des Compagnons de Route, that gathered works by Giacometti, Dubuffet, Tobey, Vieira da Silva, Rebeyrolle, di Suvero, Staël, Jorn, and Bissière.
Almost 20 years later, in dialogue with the room dedicated to Jeanne Bucher at the Centre Pompidou, in which works bought by the Centre from the gallery are on display, Véronique Jaeger, general manager, and her brother Emmanuel Jaeger, gallery manager, chose to organize an exhibition for their father Jean- François Jaeger, in the very place that fueled his passion, so as to give him a lively, vivid voice, intimately connected to the artists he knew, supported, and above all, loved. Compagnons de Route does not aim at showing works from all the artists he promoted and championed throughout his career, but, in a kind of prolongation of the Centre Pompidou room, focuses on artists whose works have been purchased by the Centre Pompidou from the gallery through the 1960s. The works exhibited will echo those exhibited at the Centre Pompidou.
In 2000, Jean-François Jaeger, in the preamble of the catalogue of his exhibition Dialogue avec des Compagnons de route, wrote the following:
For us, there are only beginnings, successive births every time our points of view are called into question – each of them held with total conviction, yet each potentially contradicted by another type of experience, without losing the essential attachment to the quality of the means of expression. Devoid of any creative power, we stand at the forefront, we are the first to undergo the shock when facing a revelation born in an artist’s studio, and to assimilate it so as to play our role as intermediary. Inventing an iconography adapted to the spirit of the works, orchestrating energies assembled under a subtle light to offer an efficient way to reach them, here is the only domain reserved for our pleasure. Dealing with the paintings and the sculptures all on our own allows us to savor the style of their creators in detail. The way they are laid out on the wall, distances, height, volume in space, all offer occasions to establish dialogues, most often dialogues of tenderness and respect. (…) Several exhibitions are inscribed in our memory as unforgettable events, if I do say so myself.
After Youla Chapoval (1919-1951) took 2nd prize in the Prix de la jeune peinture in May 1947, the Jeanne Bucher Gallery organized his first solo exhibition in November of the same year. It was one of the very first hangings done by Jean- François Jaeger, great-nephew of the gallery’s founder. It also led to the first acquisition of an abstract painting by Georges Pompidou. The gallery devoted a retrospective exhibition to Chapoval in 2019. The Nature morte au citron (1948) exhibited at the Centre Pompidou, acquired by the state in 1948, is an example. The gallery has chosen to exhibit the work Jeux de Lumière from the same year, as well as a charcoal drawing of 1947.
Louis-Auguste Déchelette (1894-1964), born in the region of Lyon, was a plasterer and house painter; he toured France as an apprentice between ages 16 and 31. Drawing from a very young age, he painted allegories, mostly on social and political subject matters, resorting to marvelous puns and vivid humor. Jeanne Bucher twice exhibited his clandestine, so-called “resistant” paintings during the war. In them, he denounced Fascism and Nazism and, more generally, social conflicts and the horror they bring about. Jean-François Jaeger also exhibited his work several times between 1947 and 1960. Déchelette was supported by Georges-Henri Rivière, and the State acquired some ten of his paintings between 1943 and 1965. A Déchelette-Bauchant exhibition was recently organized for the opening of the gallery’s branch in Lisbon. The Centre Pompidou owns the work L’Église St-Etienne-du-Mont, bought in 1949, which is echoed by the works Nonchalant and Analogie dating from 1943, painted in the midst of the resistance against Nazism in Paris.
Vera Pagava (1907-1988) came to painting through a path both demanding and tranquil in its spiritual dimension. Her work grew through a process of eliminating all extraneous elements, eventually conserving only that what concerns light. Arriving in Paris from her birthplace of Georgia in 1934, she studied with Bissière at the Académie Ranson and met Vieira da Silva, with whom she became very good friends. Her figurative still lives and her abstract landscapes remain, throughout the years, unified by a common thread in which silence, space and light reign. Their formal austerity forces the paintings to uphold their demand for truth. Jeanne Bucher initially exhibited Pagava’s works with those of Dora Maar in 1944; Jean-François Jaeger followed suit. A retrospective entitled Corps célestes was dedicated to the artist in 2017 jointly with the Galerie Le Minautore. (Curator: Matthieu Poirier). The work exhibited at the Centre Pompidou, Nocturne from 1951 was acquired by the state from the gallery in 1951, and is set in dialogue with the work Coupe et formes sur table from 1935, currently on display at the gallery.all images © the gallery and the artist(s)