A new exhibition of paintings and sculpture by the contemporary Irish/American artist Sean Scully (b. 1945, Dublin) has opened in Picasso’s historic former studio at the Château de Boisgeloup.
The door through. I am the door, the way, the entrance, the exit – Sean Scully
Located near the village of Gisors in Normandy, France, approximately 45 miles Northwest of Paris, the Château de Boisgeloup is an 18th-century building purchased by Pablo Picasso in 1930. In the years that followed, Picasso used his studio at Boisgeloup to create exceptional sculptures and iconic paintings, expanding his practice across mediums, genres and styles during a very productive creative period. Scully utilizes the entirety of this enchanting setting—presenting nearly a dozen new and recent works within Picasso’s historic studio space itself, as well as the adjacent dovecote, sprawling lawn, and ivy-covered, 13th-century chapel.
Almine Rech-Picasso, the founder of Almine Rech, explained, “We’re excited to share this intimate and private place with the public and to draw upon its incredible visual and historical context to create a dynamic platform for Scully’s new and recent work. Bringing Scully’s work together with the rich history of Picasso’s studio allows us to engage with this special place in a new and exciting way, and to create a dialogue with the past and the future through an unexpected and compelling exhibition.”
Titled Celtique, the show comprises paintings from Scully’s ‘Landline’, ‘Madonna’, and ‘Wall of Light’ series, stacked sculptures, and glass sculpture. Several recent pictures by Scully, which demonstrate the artist’s signature motif of abundant, painterly abstraction and expressive rendering of colour and texture through the use of repetitive forms, are being presented in the historic studio space itself. In addition, the presentation features two figurative paintings—an unexpected departure from his signature style of abstraction—both titled Madonna (2019). These profoundly personal works depict the artist’s son and wife on the beach in Eleuthera. In the neighbouring dovecote, Scully’s bronze Coin Stack (2018) represents an abstracted expression of the artist himself and his life—the title referring to a time during his childhood when Scully’s father would bring home tips and count them in stacks on the kitchen table. For the pièce de résistance, 30 Too (2018), Scully’s monumental 10foot-tall sculpture composed of vibrantly painted stacks of aluminium, presides over the Château’s expansive lawn.
Born in Dublin in 1945, Sean Scully grew up in London and settled in America in the mid-1970s. One of the most admired abstract painters working today, his work draws on the traditions of European painting, invigorated with the distinct character of American abstraction.
In a career spanning six decades – and counting – Scully has risen to international prominence, with work held in significant public collections worldwide. Scully’s varied practice encompasses printmaking, sculpture, watercolours and pastels. Still, he is best known for vibrant, monumental abstract paintings in which stripes or blocks of layered colour are a prevailing motif. Scully’s varied practice encompasses printmaking, sculpture, watercolours and pastels. Still, he is best known for vibrant, monumental abstract paintings in which stripes or blocks of layered colour are a prevailing motif.
“Sean Scully re-imagines the history of abstraction as an art rooted in experience, one that seeks to purify how we encounter the world—“something felt and something seen,” as he has said. To this end, his work stages an intense dialogue between colour and form, but a colour that is always rooted in a particular place, and form that manifests the self.” (Joanna Kleinberg and Brett Littman, Sean Scully: Change and Horizontals, New York, 2013, p.29) Sean Scully was elected a Royal Academician in 2013.
He has been shortlisted for the Turner Prize twice, in 1989 and 1993. Scully’s work is held in numerous public collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, US; The National Gallery of Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.D.C., U.S.U.S.; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, U.S.U.S.; Tate, London, UK; Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen K20K21, Düsseldorf, DE; Albertina, Vienna, AT; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, ES; Instituto Valencia d’Arte Modern, Valencia, ES; Guangzhou Museum of Art, Guangzhou, and China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, C.NC.N.
Sean Scully Celtique October 26 — November 17, 2019, Château de Boisgeloup, Gisors, France