Framed: 31 x 27 inches
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."
Composition, 1955 is a strong and expressive work from Jean-Michel Atlan’s classical period (1955-59). A stunning and interesting near square format to find in the artist’s mature work. On the left hand side there is almost a human like form and all the arabesques in this work are contrasted with a white background which is rare to find in his pieces.
Private collection, Europe
Artcurial Auction, Paris, 2 March 2010
Private collection, Paris, acquired from the above
Artcurial Auction, Paris, 28 June 2021
J. Polieri, Atlan, Catalog Raisonné de the Complete Work, Editions Gallimard, Paris, 1996, reproduced in color under n ° 260, p. 241