gerard schneider - portrait 1954

Gérard Schneider

(1896-1986)

Pioneer of Lyrical Abstraction, along Hans Hartung and Pierre Soulages, Gérard Schneider is a leading figure of this new, utterly free, gestural abstraction, which emerges in Post-War Paris.

Works

For more information on available artworks by Gérard Schneider,
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gerard schneider - opus 271 1945

Opus 271 – 1945
Oil on canvas
130 x 97 cm / 51.1 x 38.1 in.
Signed ‘Schneider 45’ lower right; titled on the reverse

gerard schneider - peinture de 1946 ca

Untitled – c. 1946
Gouache and ink on paper
30,2 x 23 cm / 11.8 x 9.0 in.
Signed  ‘Schneider’ lower left

gerard schneider - peinture de 1947

Untitled – 1947
Charcoal and pastel on paper
48 x 34,5 cm / 18.9 x 13.5 in.
Signed and dated ‘Schneider / 1947’ lower left

gerard schneider - peinture de 1949 ca

Untitled – c. 1949
Charcoal and pastel on paper
30,8 x 23,5 cm / 12.1 x 9.2 in.
Signed ‘Schneider’ lower right

gerard schneider - opus 348

Opus 348 – 1951
Oil on pannel
41 x 33  cm / 16.1 x 12.9 in.
Signed and dated ‘Schneider 51’ lower right; titled on the reverse

gerard schneider - opus 47 b 1953

Opus 47 B – 1953
Oil on canvas
130 x 97 cm / 51.2 x 38.2 in.
Signed and dated lower left; dated and titled on the reverse

gerard schneider - peinture de 1958

Untitled – 1958
Oil on canvas
81 x 100 cm / 31.9 x 39.4 in.
Signed ‘Schneider / I 58’ lower right

gerard schneider - opus 128 cz 1958 toile

Opus 128 CZ – 1958
Oil on canvas
81 x 100 cm / 31.8 x 39.3 in.
Signed and dated ‘Schneider 1958’ lower right; titled on the reverse

gerard schneider - opus 106 c 1958

Opus 106 C – 1958
Oil on canvas
38 x 55 cm / 15 x 21.7 in.
Signed and dated ‘Schneider 1958’ lower right; dated and titled on the reverse

gerard schneider - sans tire 1967

Untitled1967
Gouache, ink and pastel on paper
105 x 75 cm / 41.3 x 29.5 in.
Signed and dated ‘– 67 Schneider’ lower right

gerard schneider - peinture de 1970 ca

Untitled – c. 1970
Acrylic on paper laid down on canvas
50 x 65 cm / 20 x 26 in.

Video

Gérard Schneider documentary (2020)

Biography

Gérard Schneider & the years of study (1916-1937)                 

Gérard Schneider was born in Sainte-Croix in Switzerland in 1896. He spent his childhood in Neuchâtel where his father was a cabinetmaker and antique dealer. At the age of 20, he went to Paris to study at the École nationale des arts décoratifs, and then in 1918 entered the studio of Fernand Cormon at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Paris. Cormon had also taught Vincent van Gogh and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

In 1922, Gérard Schneider settled permanently in Paris. The 1920s and 1930s were marked by a long period during which he learned different techniques and the history of painting.

In 1926, Gérard Schneider’s exhibition took place for the first time at the Salon d’Automne. The work he showed, Horse Pathway, attracted attention. He also frequented musical circles in Paris. He exhibited five paintings, including Figures in a Garden at the Salon des Surindépendants of 1936, which were appreciated by the critic of La Revue Moderne: “a style, figures of such agility that the expression of movement seems to have been included in the rapid technique”.

He also discovered the artistic movements of the century of upheavals and tragedies during this period.

In the mid-1930s, the painter Gérard Schneider assimilated the revolution initiated by Kandinsky’s abstraction, while also exploring the new horizons introduced by Surrealism. He no longer painted from reality. His palette darkened, black now occupied an important position and formed structures. He wrote poems and frequented the Surrealists: Luis Fernandez, Oscar Dominguez, Paul Éluard and Georges Hugnet.

Gérard Schneider towards abstraction (1938-1949)

From 1938, the titles of Gérard Schneider’s paintings no longer referred to reality: the three sent to the Salon des Surindépendants were called Composition. In 1939, he met Picasso. Around 1944, his painting definitively abandoned all references to reality.

In 1945, the Musée National d’Art Moderne bought one of Gérard Schneider’s paintings (Composition, 1944). In the effervescence of the immediate post-war period, Gérard Schneider’s art played a pioneering role in the birth of a new form of abstraction. In Paris, the painter Gérard Schneider and other precursors proposed a return to the radicality of abstraction, a form of abstraction that no longer had any connection with the real and perceptible world and would become a landmark, it matched the aesthetic imperatives of this transitional period: it was called Lyrical Abstraction.

Gérard Schneider & the “Years of Glory” (1950-1961)

Alongside artists such as Jean-Michel Atland, André Lanskoy, Georges Mathieu and especially Hans Hartung and Pierre Soulages with whom he formed sincere friendships, Gérard Schneider very quickly saw his work acquire an international dimension. From the mid-1940s, major exhibitions grouping the main members of lyrical abstraction were organized in Paris, especially at the galleries of Lydia Conti and Denise René.

Abroad, at major travelling exhibitions, the public discovered this vital creative momentum: around Germany from the late 1940s: this was the exhibition Wanderausstellung Französischer Abstrakter Malerei which circulated throughout West Germany between 1948 and 1949. Schneider’s works were exhibited immediately afterwards in the USA: at the Betty Parsons Gallery (in 1949 and 1951) and in the major travelling exhibition Advancing French Art that was shown all over the country, from Chicago to San Francisco.

Between 1955 and 1961, the Samuel Kootz Gallery in New York was his exclusive dealer in the USA and his representative there. The painter Gérard Schneider joined his friend Pierre Soulages in this prestigious gallery.

The Phillips Gallery of Washington bought Opus 445 of 1950 and New York’s MoMA bought Opus 95 B of 1955.

In 1956, Gérard Schneider married for the second time, his wife was Loïs Frederick a young American woman who had come to Paris to study art on a Fulbright scholarship, whom he met through Marcel Brion. Around the same time, Schneider met Eugène Ionesco.

Exhibitions were held successively around the world.

From the early 1950s, Gérard Schneider’s works were exhibited in Europe: for example in Brussels where there weas a first retrospective in 1953, then a second one in 1962 in association with the Düsseldorf Kunstverein. He also participated in the first two editions of Documenta in Cassel in 1955 and 1959.

Gérard Schneider exhibited three times at the Venice Biennale, in 1948, 1954 and 1966.

In 1957, he won the Prix Lissone.

His works also travelled regularly, to Japan from 1950 until the early 1970s, especially for the International Exposition of Art. In addition, for the International Art Exhibition in Tokyo in 1950, he was awarded the prize of the Governor of Tokyo.

The painter Gérard Schneider also showed several times at the São Paulo Biennale: in 1951, 1953 and 1961. During the 1961 edition, Jean Cassou, chief curator of the Musée National d’Art Moderne de Paris, asked Schneider to create four canvas paintings 2 x 3 m for a group of ten large format works that were exhibited.

Gérard Schneider & the “Years of Enlightenment” (1962-1972)

During the 1960s, he maintained a close connection with the Milan-based dealer, Bruno Lorenzelli who held many exhibitions of his work around Italy. This decade of change saw Gérard Schneider’s painting acquiring more colour, becoming freer while the gesture acquired a definitively calligraphic dimension.

Yet again, Gérard Schneider’s work evolved and echoed the aesthetic aspirations of his time as much as a complex interior process that had begun many years earlier. A synthesis of the notions of form, colour and space.

At the 1966 Venice Biennale, an entire room of the French Pavilion was devoted to his work.

Similarly, a major retrospective was held of his work in Turin in 1970 where about a hundred paintings were exhibited at the Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna. This was a great success, and then the exhibition continued at the “Terre des Hommes” Pavilion in Montreal.

Gérard Schneider : maturity and the large works on paper (1973-1986)

At over 70, Gérard Schneider’s art continued its effervescence. The fire was still as intense. The volcanic eruption of colour more fervent than ever, as if his work was destined never to be extinguished.

Exhibitions of the painter Gérard Schneider continued at the same pace, such as those held by the Galerie Beaubourg in Paris.

This fire, this energy, required a speed of execution that only paper seemed to allow. At the start of the 1980s, he turned towards this support almost exclusively. This is how, in the intimacy of his studio, large and luminous compositions full of colour were born, enflamed, the unreal beauty of which continue to fascinate.

The painter Gérard Schneider left this world on 8 July 1986 at the age of 90 and bequeathed us an oeuvre that was both simultaneously unfathomable in its aesthetic complexity and yet so close, so human and so sensitive.

In 1998, Michel Ragon published a major monograph on his work.

In 2021, the Galerie Diane de Polignac will publish the Catalogue Raisonné of Gérard Schneider’s paintings.

© Diane de Polignac Gallery / Astrid de Monteverde
Translation: Jane Mac Avock
gerard schneider - portrait 1946
Gérard Schneider in Gordes, 1946
Reserved rights
gerard schneider pierres soulages - portrait 1950
Gérard Schneider and Pierre Soulages, ca. 1950
Reserved rights
gerard schneider eugene ionesco - portrait 1961
Eugène Ionesco and Gérard Schneider, Saint-Gall, 1961
Reserved rights
gerard schneider michel ragon - portrait 1960
Michel Ragon and Gérard Schneider,  1960’s
Reserved rights
gerard schneider - atelier portrait 1972
Gérard Schneider in his studio,  1972
Photo by André Villers – Reserved rights

Selected collections

Selected collections

Brussels, Musée Modern Museum

Buffalo, NY, Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Cologne, Musée Ludwig

Colorado Springs, Co, Fine Art Center

Dunkirk, LAAC

Geneeva, Fondation Gandur pour l’Art

Jakarta, Museum

Kamakura (Japan), Museum of State

Los Angeles, Ca, University of California

Minneapolis, Mn, Walker Art Center

Nantes, Musée d’Arts

Neuchâtel (Switzerland), Musée d’Art et d’Histoire

New Haven, Ct, Yale University

New York, NY, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Oslo, Sonja Henie and Niels Onstad Foundation

Paris, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris

Paris, Musée national d’Art Moderne – Centre Pompidou

Phoenix, Az, Phoenix Museum

Princeton, Ma, Princeton University

Rome, Galleria d’Arte Moderna

Rio de Janeiro, Museu de Arta Moderna do Rio de Janeiro

Saint-Louis, Mo, Washington University

Seoul, Fine Art museum

Torino, Galleria civica d’Arte Moderna

Washington D.C., The Phillips Collection

Worchester, Ma, Worchester Museum

Zurich, Kunsthaus

Selected exhibitions

Selected exhibitions

Galerie Denise René, Paris, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1953 Galerie Lydia Conti, Paris, 1947, 1948, 1950

Venice Biennale, 1948, 1954, 1966

Wanderausstellung Französischer Abstrakter Malerei, travelling group show in West Germany: Stuttgart, Munich, Düsseldorf, Hanover, Hamburg, Frankfurt am Main, Freiburg im Breisgau, 1948-1949

Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, 1949, 1951

Les grands courants de la peinture contemporaine (de Manet à nos jours), travelling group show in South America, 1949-1950

Advancing French Art, travelling group show in United States of America: Louisville, Bloomington, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, 1951-1952

São Paulo Biennale, 1951, 1954, 1961

Der Spiegel Gallery, Cologne, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1957, 1981

Otto Stangl Gallery, Munich, 1952

International Art Exhibition, travelling group show in Japan, 1953-1965

Gérard Schneider, retrospective, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, 1953

Galerie Arnaud, Paris, 1954, 1959, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1970

Documenta in Kassel, 1955, 1959

Kootz Gallery, New York, 1956-1961

Galerie Apollinaire, Milan, 1958

Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, 1958, 1959, 1966, 1972

Lorenzelli Gallery, Milan, 1960, 1961, 1965, 1972, 1974, 1986, 1989, 2012

Minami Gallery, Tokyo, 1960

Nakanoshima Gallery, Osaka, 1960

Im Erker Gallery, Saint-Gall, 1961, 1963

Salon de Mai in Japan, Tokyo, Osaka, 1962

Gérard Schneider, retrospective, travelling exhibition: Kunstverein, Düsseldorf / Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, 1962

Paintings in France 1900-1967, travelling group show in United States of America: New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and in Canada, 1968

Gérard Schneider, retrospective, Galleria civica d’Arte moderna, Turin, 1970 Pavillon Terre des Hommes, Montreal, 1970

Panorama de l’Art contemporain, travelling group show in Iran, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon, 1971-1972

Galerie Beaubourg, Paris, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1981, 1986

Gérard Schneider, retrospective, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Neuchâtel (Switzerland) / Musée d’Art Contemporain, Dunkerque (France), 1983

FIAC, Galerie Patrice Trigano, Paris, 1983 Kunstmesse, Basel, 1985

L’Europe des grands maîtres, Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris / Musée des beaux-arts, Seoul, 1989

Schneider, reetrospective, travelling retrospective in France: Clermont-Ferrand, Carcassonne, Montbéliard, Le Mans, Metz, 1998-2001

L’Envolée lyrique, Paris 1945-1956, Musée du Luxembourg, Paris, 2006

Gérard Schneider, grands gestes pour un grand monde, Musée d’Art & d’Histoire,

Neuchâtel (Switzerland), 2011

Montparnasse / Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Angers / Bordeaux, 2012

Les Sujets de l’abstraction, Peinture non- gurative de la Seconde École de Paris (1946- 1962), group show, Fondation Gandur pour l’Art, Musée Rath, Geneva / Musée Fabre, Montpellier, 2011

Gérard Schneider, retrospective, Musée des Beaux-Arts d’Orléans, 2013

Le Geste et la Matière – Une abstraction « autre » – Paris, 1945-1965, Fondation Clément, Le François, Martinique, 2017

gerard schneider - opus 12 m 1977
Opus 12 M – 1977
Acrylic on canvas
35 x 45.6 in. – 89 x 116 cm
Private collection, France

Selected bibliography

Selected bibliography

Marcel Pobé, Schneider, Paris, Georges Fall, 1959

Michel Ragon, Schneider, Amriswill, Bodensee Verlag, 1961

Marcel Brion, R. V. Gindertael, Schneider, Venice, Al eri, 1967

Gérard Schneider, exhibition catalog, Turin, Galleria civica d’Arte moderna (16 April–24 May 1970), Turin, Galleria civica d’Arte moderna, 1970

Gérard Schneider, Eugène Ionesco (foreword), Mots au vol, Paris, Éditions Saint-Germain- des- Prés, 1974

Pierre von Allmen (dir.), Jean-Marie Dunoyer, Schneider, exhibition catalog, Neuchâtel, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire (26 February–17 April 1983), Neuchâtel, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de Neuchâtel, 1983

Jean Orizet, Schneider Peintures, Paris, La différence / l’autre musée, 1984

Daniel Chabrissoux, Loïs Frederick, Gérard Schneider : œuvres de 1916 à 1986, exhibition

catalog, Angers, (1991), Angers, Expressions contemporaines, 1991 Michel Ragon, Schneider, Angers, Expresssions contemporaines, 1998

Patrick-Gilles Persin, L’Envolée lyrique Paris 1945-1956, exhibition catalog, Paris, Musée du Luxembourg (26 April–6 August 2006), Milan, Skira, 2006

Éric de Chassey (dir.), Éveline Notter (dir.), Justine Moeckli et al., Les sujets de l’abstraction. Peinture non- gurative de la seconde École de Paris, 1946-1962. 101 Chefs- d’œuvre de la Fondation Gandur pour l’Art, exhibition catalog, Geneva, Musée Rath (6 May–14 August 2011) / Montpellier, Musée Fabre (3 December 2011–25 March 2012), Milan, 5 continents, 2011

Christian Briend, Nathalie Ernoult, Le Geste et la Matière – Une abstraction « autre » – Paris, 1945-1965, exhibition catalog, Le François, Martinique, Fondation Clément (22 January–16 April 2017), Paris / Le François, Centre Pompidou, Paris / Fondation Clément, Le François, Martinique / Somogy éditions d’Art, 2017

gerard schneider - opus 87 b 1955
Opus 87 B – 1955
Oil on canvas
51.1 x 38.1 in. – 130 x 97 cm
Private collection, France