Amidst the legacy of war torn Paris following WWII emerged an era of incredible cultural richness, as if the ground being scorched activated a vigorous germination of new shoots striving up through the desolation towards the light. A fundamental cause of this stimulus was unquestionably the significant influx of émigrés, whose differing experiences and perspectives fed into the intellect and creativity of the city. Of the “École de Paris” in 1950 only just over 50% of the artists were French, and the resulting atmosphere was charged with intellectual debate, avant-garde publications and groups forming and reforming before the ink had barely dried on their most recent manifesto.
Hanina Fine Arts is delighted to present an exhibition celebrating this internationalism with a selection of these influential émigré artists, including the Russians André Lanskoy, proclaimed by critic Pierre Guéguen as “one of the greatest of all abstract painters”; Léopold Survage who had been one of the earliest abstract painters in Moscow; Pierre Dmitrienko; Léon Zack and Youla Chapoval whose success was tragically cut short by early death. The exhibition includes work by Hungarians Alfred Reth, Janos Stryk, and Georges Csato who whilst interned during the war was “invited” to create a portrait of Stalin in person. Also featured is a major Abstraction Lyrique painting by Rumanian Alexandre Istrati, along with geometric abstract work by Polish artist Mieczyslaw Janikowski who having survived serious injury whilst an allied tank commander, studied at Edinburgh College of Art before settling in Paris in the famous “La Ruche” building, at the core of the cultural crucible.
The influx wasn’t all from the east however, and other essential influences included Italians, notably Emile Gilioli and Silvano Bozzolini, in the show; as well as Americans who used their GI Bill grant to settle in Paris, such as Bill Parker and John Levée who became the foremost American abstract expressionist in Europe.