Maurice Estève

Composition 166


Not on display

Maurice Estève 1904–2001
Watercolour on paper
Support: 505 × 638 mm
Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1959

Catalogue entry

Maurice Estève born 1904

T00254 Composition No. 166 1957

Inscribed 'Estève' b.l.
Watercolour on paper, 19 7/8 x 25 1/8 (50.5 x 63.5)
Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1959
Prov: Friends of the Tate Gallery (purchased from the artist through Villand et Galanis, Paris)
Exh: Estève: Aquarelles Récentes, Galerie Villand et Galanis, Paris, April-May 1958 (3, repr.)
Repr: Edward Lucie-Smith, Movements in Art since 1945 (London 1969), pl.47

The artist states (letter of 8 February 1974): 'It is rare for me to give a title other than my catalogue number to my watercolours (unlike the oils and the lithographs).

'All my watercolours are 'unique' works in the sense that they are never sketches or studies made in preparation for a painting. They should be regarded as "paintings" in their own right, executed in watercolour instead of in oil. The same applies to the majority of my drawings, for, for some years past, I have ceased to make preliminary sketches, seeking, from the beginning of work on the canvas, drawing, form and colour, if I may say so, more or less simultaneously.

'The composition of watercolour No.166 can be regarded as "abstract", since it was inspired by no motif, no memory of reality or of something seen ... not even by a particular environment, despite the place of creation which is always (or almost always) the country. Being unable to work in oil and watercolour at the same time, I reserve the latter activity for my studio at Berry each year, in the summer.

'But, I must repeat, in Paris, during my work in oils, I never use my watercolours - nor for that matter my drawings, which are also, or intended to be, complete in themselves.'

Published in:
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, pp.211-12, reproduced p.211


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