Artist biography

French painter. He was a self-taught artist. His early works were assemblages which included plastic objects. This appropriation of prefabricated materials led to his association with Nouveau réalisme. Raysse exhibited a world, new, antiseptic and modern. His approach anticipated that of the Pop artists, who likewise used objects and images deriving from advertising.

During the 1960s Raysse began to make more pictorial compositions, based on images from advertising as well as on high art. He also produced paintings in which a deliberate roughness of execution is emphasised by the superimposition of a single neon line. Raysse began at this time to create his own prototypes as another way of continuing to elevate bad taste and falsity to the level of art.

In the mid 1960s Raysse's work developed around a number of recurrent themes; in particular he concentrated on the contours of a portrait, a mouth or an eye, repeating them endlessly using all kinds of visual formulae, and drawing on the most diverse types of materials.

He gave up his pictorial explorations in the atmosphere of the events of 1968 in France. When he returned to painting, his work had undergone an important change. Little by little he moved away from the urban world towards a return to nature, a bucolic ideal of a gentle and calm community with reminiscences of Poussin and of mythology. He used pastel and tempera to depict timeless magical or fantastic scenes, anticipating the vogue for mythological subjects that appeared in the work of other painters in the 1980s.

Bibliography
Martial Raysse, maître et esclave de l'imagination (exh. cat., Amsterdam, Stedel. Mus., 1965)
Martial Raysse (exh. cat., Prague, N.G., Šternberk Pal., 1969)
Martial Raysse, 1970–1980 (exh. cat., Paris, Pompidou, 1981)
Martial Raysse (exh. cat., Antibes, Mus. Picasso, 1982)

ALFRED PACQUEMENT

Copyright material reproduced courtesy of Oxford University Press, New York

Article provided by Grove Art Online www.groveart.com