huguette arthur bertrand - portrait

Huguette Arthur Bertrand

(1920-2005)

One of the few women of Lyrical Abstraction, Huguette Arthur Bertrand was an active member of the Post-War Paris art scene, rubbing shoulders with Pierre Soulages, Hans Hartung, Serge Poliakoff, Jean Dewasne, Martin Barré and Pierre Dmitrienko among many others.

News

newsletter 7 hugette arthur bertrand elated painting

An analysis of the body of work of Huguette Arthur Bertrand, by Mathilde Gubanski

Works

For more information on available artworks by Huguette Arthur Bertrand,
please contact us on + 33 1 83 06 79 90

huguette arthur bertrand - peinture de 1949

Untitled – 1949
Oil on canvas
38,5 x 55,5 cm / 15.2 x 21.8 in.
Dated on the reverse
Certificate by M. Philippe Bertrand

huguette arthur bertrand - peinture de 1959 ca

Untitled – c. 1959
Ink on paper
105 x 76 cm / 41.3 x 29.9 in.
Signed on the reverse
Certificate by M. Philippe Bertrand

huguette arthur bertrand - raz de marée 1960 ca

Raz de Marée – c. 1960
Oil on canvas
162 x 130 cm / 63.8 x 51.2 in.
Signed ‘Hug Arthur Bertrand’ lower right; titled on the reverse
Certificate by M. Philippe Bertrand

huguette arthur bertrand - grand collage 1965

Grand collage – 1965
Gouache and collage on paper
110 x 75 cm / 43.3 x 29.5 in.
Signed and dated ‘Hug Arthur Bertrand 1965’ lower left
Certificate by M. Philippe Bertrand

huguette arthur bertrand - gévaudan 1966 ca

Gévaudan – c. 1966
Oil on canvas
200 x 200 cm / 78.7 x 78.7 in.
Signed ‘Hug Arthur Bertrand’ lower right; signed and titled on the reverse
Certificate by M. Philippe Bertrand

huguette arthur bertrand - cela qui gronde 1967

Cela qui gronde – 1967
Oil on canvas
130 x 162 cm / 51. x 63.77 in.
Signed ‘Hug Arthur Bertrand’ lower right; titled and dated on the reverse
Certificate by M. Philippe Bertrand

huguette arthur bertrand - déferlant gris et rouge sur brun 1970 ca

Déferlant rouge et gris sur brun – c. 1970
Oil on canvas
130 x 162 cm / 51.2 x 63.8 in.
Signed ‘Hug Arthur Bertrand’ lower left; signed and titled on the reverse
Certificate by M. Philippe Bertrand

huguette arthur bertrand - remous 1984-1986

Remous – 1984-1986
Oil on canvas
130 x 162 cm / 51.2 x 63.8 in.
Signed ‘Hug Arthur Bertrand’ lower left; signed, titled and dated on the reverse
Certificate by M. Philippe Bertrand

huguette arthur bertrand - l amant cachalot 1990 ca

L’amant cachalot – c. 1990
Oil on canvas
96 x 141 cm / 37.79 x 55.51 in.
Signed ‘Arthur Bertrand’ lower left; signed and titled on the reverse
Certificate by M. Philippe Bertrand

huguette arthur bertrand - voie directe 1992

Voie directe – 1992
Oil on canvas
162 x 130 cm / 63.77 x 51.18 in.
Signed ‘Hug Arthur Bertrand’ lower right; signed, titled and dated on the reverse
Certificate by M. Philippe Bertrand

Biography

A young woman painter in Post-war Paris

Born in 1920 in Écouen, Huguette Arthur Bertrand spent her childhood in Roanne (center south of France) and settled in Paris shortly after the war. She attended the Académie libre de la Grande Chaumière. A fellowship allowed her to spend a year in Prague between 1946 and 1947 where she had her first solo exhibition. She met the painter Joseph Sima there.

A rare painter woman in the essentially masculine artistic landscape of Post-war Paris, she immersed herself fully in the buzzing art world of Montparnasse and Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Huguette Arthur Bertrand became friendly with publishers, critics (Michel Ragon) and abstract artists, those of the Galerie Denise René: Jean Dewasne, Jean Deyrolle, Serge Poliakoff; and with Martin Barré, Pierre Dmitrienko, James Guitet, Kumi Sugaï and John F. Koenig. On Saturdays she would visit Jean-Michel Atlan’s studio with Marcelle Loubchansky. She participated with passion in this artistic effervescence, marked by lively debate between figurative and abstract art, but also between supporters of “cold” abstraction and those of “warm” abstraction: one geometric, the other gestural, lyrical, guided by a free and spontaneous gesture.

In the 1950’s, Huguette Arthur-Bertrand’s success in Paris                 

During the 1950s, Huguette Arthur Bertrand applied the full force of her art and the confidence of her artistic vocabulary made from stripes that hatch, streak, give rhythm to compositions. A powerful way of painting that confuses. A solid form of painting that marks a determined, independent character, “a type of painting that does not appear feminine at all; even muscular painting, strong, dynamic in a way that would appear masculine […]” as Michel Ragon wrote.
The woman artist Huguette Arthur Bertrand’s explosive work, which was definitively abstract from 1950, presents an audacious palette, full of colour that gradually evolved towards more dramatic shades, concentrated in a range of ochre, brown, orange-red.

In 1949 and 1950, Huguette Arthur Bertrand participated in the key exhibition Les Mains Éblouies (The Dazzled Hands) at the Galerie Maeght alongside Pierre Dmitrienko, and with the (enlever the) Cobra artists in 1950 (Pierre Alechinsky, Corneille, Jacques Doucet).

In Paris, from the start of the 1950s, several galleries exhibited the painter woman’s work: Galerie Niepce, Galerie La Roue, Galerie Arnaud above all…

Huguette Arthur Bertrand regularly participated in the main salons of abstract art in Paris, at the Salon de Mai from 1949 until the late 1980s, at the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles until the 1990s, and at the Salon d’Automne.

The year 1955 was decisive for her: she won the famous Prix Fénéon (Fénéon award).
In 1956, Huguette Arthur Bertrand participated in the Festival de l’Art d’Avant-Garde, a major event held at Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse in Marseille.

Huguette Arthur-Bertrand’s international recognition

Her works began to travel abroad: a solo exhibition was held at the Brussels Palais des Beaux-Arts in 1956, and crossed the Atlantic: in 1956, the Meltzer Gallery in New York organized for the woman artist a solo exhibition in 1956, praised by critics, then a group show the year after: North and South Americans and Europeans. Also in 1957, the painter Huguette Arthur Bertrand participated in the exhibition New Talents in Europe at the University of Alabama. In 1958 and in 1960-61, she exhibited at the Howard Wise Gallery in Cleveland.

The works of the painter woman Huguette Arthur Bertrand continued to be exhibited in many different galleries and art events all over the world: in Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, England, Italy… as far as Japan, Venezuela, Mexico and Cuba.

In 1961, Jean-Marie Drot made a film about Huguette Arthur Bertrand for French television (ORTF).

The woman artist Huguette Arthur Bertrand in Michel Ragon’s circle of friends

Close to the art critic, Michel Ragon, the woman artist met his circle of friends: Pierre Soulages, Hans Hartung, Gérard Schneider, Zao Wou-Ki, Victor Vasarely, among others. Together they worked on a collection La Peau des Choses (the skin of things), a portfolio of prints published in a limited edition by Jean-Robert Arnaud in 1968 in honour of their friend Michel Ragon.

Huguette Arthur-Bertrand’s maturity work                  

Starting in 1971, Huguette Arthur-Bertrand worked with tapestry for over a decade (she received commissions from the Mobilier national) and became interested in monumental mural painting. At the turn of the 1980s, her gestures became more and more liberated, and calmer, summarized in subtle white traces, airy like a breath on the canvas. The woman artist Huguette Arthur Bertrand died in 2005.

© Diane de Polignac Gallery / Astrid de Monteverde
Translation: Jane Mac Avock
huguette arthur bertrand - portrait atelier

SELECTED COLLECTIONS

Selected Collections

Aalborg (Danemark), Museum of Modern Art

Angers, Musée Jean Lurçat et de la tapisserie contemporaine

Dunkerque, Lieu d’Art et d’Action Contemporaine (LAAC)

Geneva, Fondation Gandur pour l’Art

Minneapolis, Walker Art Center

Nantes, Musée d’arts

Oslo, Fondation Moltzau

Paris, Musée national d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges-Pompidou

Paris, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Paris, Bibliothèque nationale

Paris, Mobilier national

Paris, Centre national d’Arts plastiques (CNAP)

Québec, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Québec

Saint-Étienne, Musée d’Art moderne et contemporain de Saint-Étienne

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

Selected Exhibitions

Les Mains éblouies (The Dazzled Hands), Galerie Maeght, Paris, 1949 and 1950

Salon de Mai, Paris, 1949-late 1980s

Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Paris, 1950-1990

Festival de l’Art d’avant-garde, Marseille, 1956

Solo show, Meltzer Gallery, New York, 1956

North and south Americans and Europeans, Meltzer Gallery, New York, 1957

New talents in Europe, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, 1957

Howard Wise Gallery, Cleveland, 1958, 1960-61

Solo show, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, 1957

50 ans de collage (50 years of collage), solo show, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, 1964

L’Envolée lyrique (Lyrical Flight), Paris 1945-1956, Musée du Luxembourg, Paris, 2006

Les Sujets de l’abstraction, Peinture non-figurative de la Seconde École de Paris (1946-1962),

(The Subjects of Abstraction, Non-figurative Painting of the Second School of Paris (1946-1962)), Fondation Gandur pour l’Art, Musée Rath, Geneva, 2011

Femmes années 1950. Au fil de l’abstraction, peinture et sculpture (Women of the 1950s. Through abstraction, painting and sculpture), Musée Soulages, Rodez, 2019-2020

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Selected Bibliography

Michel Ragon, Une aventure de l’art abstrait, Paris, Laffont, 1956

Herta Wescher, Seize peintres de la Jeune École de Paris, Le Musée de Poche, Paris, Georges Fall, 1956

Michel Seuphor, Dictionnaire de la peinture abstraite, Paris, Hazan, 1957

Bernard Pingaud, Huguette Arthur Bertrand, monography, Paris, Hoffer, 1964

Michel Seuphor and Michel Ragon, L’art abstrait, Paris, Maeght, 1973

Michel Ragon, Huguette Arthur Bertrand, followed by Notes de parcours du peintre, monograph, Paris, Porte du Sud / Galarté, 1987

Geneviève Bonnefoi, les années fertiles, 1940-1960, Paris, Perrin, 1988

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