Edouard Pignon

The Miner


Not on display

Edouard Pignon 1905–1993
Original title
Le Mineur
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 921 × 730 mm
frame: 1220 × 1028 × 90 mm
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1951

Display caption

Pignon's father was a miner and he himself had worked down the pits as a young man in the Pas-de-Calais, France. In 1949-50 he made a series of paintings about the official suppression of strikes and demands for better working conditions. Although a Communist Party member, Pignon departed somewhat from the official Socialist Realist style. In his depiction of the man rolling a cigarette, for example, he employs a simplification that is indebted to Picasso.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

Edouard Pignon born 1905 [- 1993]

N06037 Le Mineur (The Miner) 1949

Inscribed 'Pignon | 49' b.r.
Oil on canvas, 36 1/4 x 28 3/8 (92 x 73)
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1951
Prov: CAS (purchased from the artist through the Leicester Galleries 1950)
Exh: In Paris now, Leicester Galleries, London, April-May 1950 (48); Some Recent Purchases of the CAS, Arts Council touring exhibition, May 1951-January 1952 (42); CAS: The First Fifty Years 1910-60, Tate Gallery, April-May 1960 (159)
Repr: XXe Siècle, No.1, 1951, p.50; Jean-Louis Ferrier, Pignon (Paris 1976), p.72

The artist writes: 'My father was a miner and I also worked down a coal mine in my youth at Marles-les-Mines, in the Pas-de-Calais.

'This particular work belongs to a series of paintings inspired by the gesture of a miner rolling his cigarette. There are several paintings on the same theme in different collections or museums.

'Most of the paintings based on Marles-les-Mines at that period had the mine as theme (centred around a very large painting entitled "The Dead Worker") or else the "Cock Fights", which are the miners' favourite pastime' (letter of 8 September 1976).

It is reproduced alongside three further paintings on the same theme, from the period 1948-52, in Fernier, op. cit., pp.72-3.

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, p.609, reproduced p.609

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