The Pioneer: Françoise Gilot

Lithographs, monotypes and illustrated deluxe books

Date: Apr 22 – May 12Space: Main Gallery

Creative Arts Napier is proud to announce a major exhibition of modern artist and printmaker, Françoise Gilot, from 22 April-12 May, 2022. In collaboration with the Print Council Aotearoa New Zealand (PCANZ) and DKH Gallery, the largest collection of Gilot’s artwork ever exhibited in the Southern Hemisphere, with more than 35 of her graphic works, is on full display in our Main Gallery.

A series of scholarly lectures by the Curator (a leading expert on Gilot’s printed works), printmaking workshops (conducted by New Zealand’s most talented printmakers), a special pre-exhibition Gilot movie screening and creative activities for children and youth, will accompany the exhibition.

At 100 years of age, Gilot’s artistic career spans an unparalleled 80 years and her innovative printed works, especially her pioneering experimentation with colour lithography, are a tour-de-force in modern art printmaking. The exhibition has been curated using key graphic works to demonstrate Gilot’s progression as a pioneering fine art printmaker and her unique exploration of the most fundamental elements of human existence. Such as, family, the feminine, nature and creation, cultural diversity, mythology, the human form, and much more. We invite you to experience this historic exhibition, celebrating the most important living fine art printmaker of the modern era.

From 1946 to 1949, while living with Picasso, Gilot witnessed a critical period of his printmaking at the invitation of Fernand Mourlot (1895- 1988) at the Mourlot Atelier on Rue Chabrol in Paris. Picasso had minimal formal training in printmaking and relied heavily on the talented Mourlot Master printers to overcome numerous technical challenges. To her credit, Gilot acknowledged the learning she received by observing Picasso’s printmaking—including his use of the innovative “sugar-lift” technique—and how she integrated this knowledge into her own unique style. It should be emphasised that Gilot was an accomplished artist well before her relationship with Picasso. Gilot focused almost entirely on drawing to assimilate her observations of Picasso’s work in order to fully develop her own ideas regarding form. It was the French modernists, not Picasso, that inspired her most—especially the vibrant use of colour and unique form of Henri Matisse (1869-1954) and the meditative and metaphysical still life of George Braque (1882-1963).

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