Pierre Wemaëre French, 1913-2010


Born to a bourgeois family in Flanders, Wemaere began painting in 1933 in a figurative mode. Beginning in 1936, under the tutelage of Léger and working in his studio, Wemaere adopted his teacher’s tendency toward simplified, geometricized forms. In 1937 he collaborated with fellow pupil Asger Jorn, who would become his close friend, to realize a commission for the International Exhibition in Paris. Not only did they work together on numerous projects under their teacher, but they also extended their collaboration to later include monumental works of their own, including both paintings and tapestries. The two exhibited together for the first time in Copenhagen in 1938, and their friendship would last until Jorn’s death in 1973.


Wemaere’s style bears the distict marks of Nordic inspiration combined with French temperament. Finding Léger’s linearity and mechanical style unsuited to his own work, Wemaere turned instead to the surrealist work of Miró and the abstractions of Paul Klee for inspiration. Floating elements, winding lines, and composite abstract and figurative forms are revealed through Wemaere’s mastery of color. Stylistically similar to the Abstract Expressionists, Wemaere utilized impasto and a bold palette to transpose forms that were simultaneously impetuous and restrained. He was inscribed into the canon of the avant-gardes after exhibiting at the 1939 show Réalités Nouvelles at the Galerie Charpentier. In the midst of World War II, Wemaere was invited to New York City by Solomon Guggenheim in 1940, but was forced to decline the invitation after being sent to the front; his experience in the war would monumentally alter the nature of his work. Afterwards, he exhibited regularly in prestigious spaces throughout Europe, alongside artists including Jorn, Dubuffet, and Fontana.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

1938      Galerie Dam et Fonss, Copenhagen

1957      Galerie Paul Facchetti, Paris

1960      Galerie des 4 Saisons, Paris

1961      Galerie Birch, Copenhague

1963      Musée de Silkeborg, Denmark; Galerie Rive Gauche, Paris; Galerie Jysk Kunst, Aarhus Denmark

1964      Galerie Rive Gauche, Paris

1966      Galerie Birch, Copenhague; Chateau de Flavignerot, Dijon

1968      Les Cimaises Ventadour, Paris

1969      Galerie Moderne Silkeborg, Denmark 

1970      Galerie Moderne Silkeborg, Denmark

1971      Rétrospective Musée de Randers, Denmark

1973      Musée de Randers, Denmark

1974      Galerie Moderne Silkeborg, Denmark

1975      FIAC, Galerie Riedel, Paris

1977      Kunstforum, Gand, Belgium; Galerie Trudvang, Larvik, Norway

1980      40 ans de peinture, large retrospective rue Saint-Martin, Paris

1981      Grands  formats,  Maison de la culture d'Amiens

1983      Galerie Riedel, Paris

1989      Galerie Galise Petersen, Thonon les Bains

1990      Galerie Philippe Vichot, Paris

1991      Galerie de l'Arcade, Paris; Galerie Galise Petersen, Thonon les Bains

1993      80 ans de l'artiste, Galerie Moderne Silkeborg, Denmark        

1997      Galerie Egelund, Copenhagen

1998      Couvent des Cordeliers, City of Paris, retrospective 1938-1998; Musée de Silkeborg, Danemark et Galerie Moderne Silkeborg, Denmark    

2000     Petit Palais, Paris Le Long Voyage, tapestries Jorn/Wemaëre; Musée de Silkeborg, Denmark  and Galerie Moderne Silkeborg, Denmark    

2001/02 Musée Jean Lurçat et de la tapisserie contemporaine, Angers retrospective tapestries and paintings

2003     Musée de Silkeborg, Denmark;Galerie Moderne Silkeborg, Denmark    

2004     Espace Johnson & Johnson, Paris

2005     Kouros Gallery, New York;Fair Art Paris 2005, Galerie Guillaume Fondation Gl. Holtegaard, Copenhagen; Galerie Egelund, Denmark; Silkeborg Kunstmuseum, Denmark; Galerie Moderne Silkeborg, Denmark

2006     Kouros Gallery, New York

2007     Nico-Koster-Galerie Moderne, Amsterdam; Galerie Guillaume, Paris; Galerie Moderne Silkeborg, Denmark 

2008     Silkeborg Kunstmuseum, Denmark         


Museums and Public Collections

Museum of Modern Art, Paris

Centre Georges Pompidou

Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark

Roubaix, La Piscine

National Gallery of Victoria, Australia

Museum Jorn, Silkeborg

Hurrle Museum, Durbach, Germany

Museum of Fine Arts, Angers

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