Edgard Pillet (1912-1996)
Genese, 1951
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[8:20, includes sound]



Pillet was a pioneer of post-war geometric abstraction, and in 1951 he created this avant-garde animated short film "Genesis", in which the “actors are straight lines, squares, rectangles and circles”.


Edgard Pillet was one of the most progressive artists of post-war Paris, internationally acclaimed for pioneering a new style of geometric abstraction. He is also respected for his literary contributions to the polemic for Abstract, not least as the Secretary General of the leading avant-garde journal Art Aujourd’hui, which was central to the cause. In 1950 he further championed the aesthetic revolution by founding with Jean Dewasne the extremely influential  Atelier d’Art Abstrait on the premises of the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere.  In 1951 he co-founded the Espace group, whilst also creating this abstract film Genesis. In 1954 he published a set of short stories called “ideograms” which took the form of an album of screen-printed geometrical compositions, each “story” has a beginning and an end, acted out by forms and colours.


Pillet held many successful solo exhibitions in Europe, including Denise René, Arnaud, Paris; Drian, London; Artek in Helsinki; del Março, Lisbon; Apollo, Brussels; Hybler, Copenhagen; K.B., Oslo; del Fiore, Milan; LAFA, New York; aswell as taking part in the Salons de Mai, and Salons des Réalites Nouvelles, and several important international group shows including at National Museum of Modern Art, Rome; Cincinatti Art Museum; and the Museum of Modern Art, São Paolo; aswell as Washinigton, Tokyo, Saigon, Bangkok, Djakarta, Algiers. From 1955-57 he lived in America and spent much time discussing his theories with american abstract artists and significantly Jackson Pollock. He took up a position at the Art Institute of Chicago, and held several exhibitions, before returning to France in 1957. Pillet continued to exhibit internationally throughout his career.


Prizes: Prix Abd-El-Tiff, 1939; Prix de la Jeune Sculpture, Paris, 1948; Prix de la Critique, Brussels, 1953.


The artist is represented in the following Museums of Modern Art: Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Musée Nationale d’Art Moderne, Paris; Musée de Peinture et de Sculpture, Grenoble; Musée Ateneum, Helsinki; Finland Museum, Imatra; National Museum, Algiers; National Museum, Djakarta; Museum of Modern Art, Eilat; Museum of Modern Art, New York.