T00301 L'Oiseau I (Bird I) 1957
Inscribed 'Bellegarde | 57' b.r. and 'l'oiseau | I' and 'Bellegarde' on back of canvas
Oil, casi arti and fine paper on canvas, 21 5/8 x 39 1/2 (55 x 100.5)
Presented by Mr and Mrs Alexander Margulies 1959
Prov: Mr and Mrs Alexander Margulies, London (purchased from the artist)
Lit: Pierre Restany, 'Visites d'Ateliers; Claude Bellegarde' in Cimaise, V, No.4, March-April 1958, pp.26-7
The artist wrote that he made several paintings on this theme. 'The bird symbolised for me at a certain period the synthesis of movements and thought. A living image, ceaselessly in movement and space, successively inscribing and destroying this image, a little breath of animal life in the cold space, a fusion of time and space. Moreover the bird is white, white of the non-colour in which the being loses itself and seeks extinction. A period of earlier research ... led me to work exclusively with white for more than three years' (letter of 13 January 1960).
According to Pierre Restany, this search for the most delicate nuances and vibrations, this renunciation of colour, corresponded to Bellegarde's interest in spiritual asceticism closely based on the principles of Zen Buddhism.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.44, reproduced p.44