THEA WESTREICH/ETHAN WAGNER
Text by Yve-Alain Bois.
Important European galleries and museums exhibited French painter Martin Barré continuously from the time he first came on the scene in the mid-1950s until his death in 1993. Despite the perplexing lack of exposure in America, today many young painters look to Barré as an exemplar of the "new Modernity" and hold him in esteem for the thoughtful, inventive and sensitive ways he explored line, form, color and the two-dimensional surface. This interest has been responsible, at least in part, for a renewed focus on Barré's work lately-as well as a reconsideration of his place in the history of painting. This volume is the first to cover the artist's complete oeuvre, from 1955 to 1992, and it is the most extensively illustrated yet in print. Noted art historian and critic Yve-Alain Bois contributes a stunning essay reflecting on the singular achievement of this history-making artist.
Martin Barré, the historically important artist, was born in Nante, France in 1924. His career spanned much of the latter half of the 20th century. He emerged on the Paris scene in the mid-1950's and died in 1993, at the age of 69. During his lifetime, important museums and galleries across Europe regularly exhibited his work. Barré effectively transcended the time when the ideals of Modernism gave way to the new spirit of contemporary art. And, as a contemporary artist, Barré's inventive and sensitive exploration of line, color and form and the two-dimensional surface formed a singular achievement in the history of abstract painting. In recent years, Barré has received international attention. In 2006 the Centre Pompidou hung three of its trove of Barré paintings with pride of place in one of its permanent galleries, along with work by Carl Andre, Agnes Martin and Robert Ryman. In its 2001 show, As Painting: Division and Displacement, the Wexner Center for the Arts prominently exhibited Barré's paintings with works by Daniel Buren, Donald Judd, Gerhard Richter, Robert Ryman and Jacques Villeglé. In 2008, he was featured in a one person show organized by Thea Westreich and Ethan Wagner at Andrew Kreps Gallery.