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25/05/2022 - 19/08/2022

Mid C20th - Archive Show


LIBERTÉ: Salon de Mai

Conceived as a celebration of the Liberation, the Salon de Mai came to represent “a beautiful eclecticism unsuppressed by dogma”, promoting universal harmony.

In 1943, during the Occupation, the art critic Gaston Diehl had been holding exhibitions pushing the constraints of the Nazi prohibition of Modern “Degenerate” Art, and allowed himself to imagine a celebration of liberation, taking the form of an exhibition of new art, a beautiful eclecticism unsuppressed by dogma, “without barriers and without limitations”, to enable “the spirit of creation to renew itself and become deeply intergrated into the community”. It would come to be known as the “Salon de Mai”, the metaphorical Spring.

Following the eventual Liberation of Paris in August 1944, the first Salon de Mai was held in 1945, at Galerie Pierre Maurs on avenue Matignon, with 58 artists. Along with Diehl the organising committee consisted of artists Henri-Georges Adam, Emmanuel Auricoste , Lucien Coutaud, Robert Couturier, Jacques Despierre, Marcel Gili, Léon Gischia, Francis Gruber, Jean Le Moal, Alfred Manessier, André Marchand, Edouard Pignon, Gustave Singier, Claude Venard and Roger Vieillard.

This exhibition at HFA brings together archive material and artworks by regular participants in the Salon de Mai, with a diversity of artistic styles in homage to its ethos of open exchange. Including Emile Gilioli’s geometric bronze “Paquier” which was exhibited in the 1952 salon; and founder member Henri-Georges Adam’s dynamic sculpture “La Pointe St Mathieu” which was exhibited in 1961; as well as Jean Piaubert’s 1946 painting “Composition Tortoise”; Nina Negri’s “Composition d’Oro” 1950; Gustav Bolin’s “Bleu et Rouge” 1968. Other artists include Jean Deyrolle, Henri Goetz, James Pichette, Claude Venard.


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