Jean-Michel Atlan French, 1913-1960


Jean-Michel Atlan was born on January 23, 1913 in Constantine, Algeria. In 1930 he moved to Paris to study philosophy at the Sorbonne. However, in 1941 he launched himself as an essentially self-taught artist. The publishing of his poetry and its rhythmic elements had led him next to experiment with painting. Unfortunately he was arrested in 1942 for his Jewish heritage and for his political activism as part of the French Resistance or Underground. After the war and the occupation of Paris ended, Atlan had his first exhibition at the Gallerie Arc en Ciel. In 1946 he became a part of the CoBrA art group when his own studio on Rue de la Grand-Chaumière became a gathering place for the group. The Cobra Group was formed by Karel Appel, Constant, Corneille, Christian Dotremont, Asper Jorn, and Joseph Noiret, who all espoused a complete freedom of form and color in art and who opposed the Surrealism movement. As a result of the influence of the Cobra group Atlan's paintings at this point in his career consisted of works that displayed abstract and fanciful shapes that resembled animals. In 1955 his works which included Le Kahena, and Composition were exhibited at the Gallerie Carpenter. However, by 1956 Atlan had found his own particular style which consisted of strong, black consolidated lines that enclosed pastel colored areas of color. During the 1950's Atlan's works were well received in France, England, Japan and the United States. Atlan died of cancer in Paris on February 12, 1960 and was buried in the Montparnasse Cemetery. At the time of his death Atlan was considered an important member of the "Nouvelle École de Paris."



Gallerie Arc en Ciel, Paris, 1944-5

Galerie Denise René, 1946

Galerie Maeght, Paris, 1947

Sandri Gallery, 1949

Biennale de Menton, 1951, 1953, 1955

Exposition Internationale d'Art, Liege, 1951

Gallerie Carpenter, Paris, 1955

Biennale de Sao Paulo, 1955, 1957

Bridgestone Museum, Nouvelle Ėole de Paris Exhibition, Tokyo, 1955, 1957

Charpentier Gallery, Ėcole de Paris Exhibition, Paris, 1956

Galerie Bing, Paris, 1956, 1959, 1962

Festival de L'Avant-Garde, 1956

Musée National d'Art Moderne, 1957, 1958, 1963 (retrospective)

Galerie Creuze, 1957

Galerie Dupont, Lille, 1957 (solo)

Palaié d'Antibes, 1957 (solo)

Galeria del Naviglio, Milan, 1958

Czwiklitzer Gallery, Cologne, 1958

Kaplan Gallery, London, 1959

Galerie Roux-Malaval, Lyons, 1959

Tel Aviv Museum, 1964 (retrospective)

Museums and Public Collections

Amstelveen Museum, Netherlands

Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio

Haifa Museum, Israel

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
Museum of Modern Art, New York City
Harvard University Art Museums, Massachusetts
Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana   

Joseph Cantor Foundation, Indianapolis, Indiana

Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Musée des Beaux Arts, Lille

Musée des Beaux Arts, Lyons

Musée Gauguin, Tahiti

Musée Picasso, Antibes

Museum of Art and History, Luxembourg

Museum of Contemporary Art, Montreal, Canada

Museum of Modern Art, New York

National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

Nordjyllands Kunstmuseum, Denmark

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California

Scientific Research Centre, Rehovot, Israel

Sogetsu Art Museum, Tokyo

Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Germany

Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark

Tate Gallery, London

Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem

Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne, Germany

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