pierrette bloch - artist portrait

Pierrette Bloch


Pierrette Bloch was a French-born Swiss painter and sculptor. Known for a body of work defined by minimalist forms and the contrast between black and white, the post-war artist used drawing, collage, painting, weaving and sculpture in her work.

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catalog cover - exhibition women in abstract art five women five artistic visions 2021


Digital publication – Texts by Mathilde Gubanski


Virtual visit of the exhibition “Women in abstract art: Five women – five artisitic visions”.
From March 8 to May 29, 2021

Artwork Analysis

pierrette bloch - newsletter art comes to you 16

“Pierrette Bloch, Collage”, an analysis by Mathilde Gubanski

Pierrette Bloch’s early life and artistic training

Pierrette Bloch was born in Paris on 16 June 1928. The Bloch family fled to Switzerland to escape occupied France when war broke out. In 1939, Pierrette Bloch was struck by her first aesthetic revelation when she encountered the masterpieces of the Museo del Prado, which were on show in Geneva at the time. Pierrette Bloch immersed herself in literature, which became an important source of inspiration for the young artist. She also attended conferences on art history, including a lecture by the curator and historian René Huyghe on the theme of linearity, which led her to establish an artistic practice based on the relationship between drawing, time and writing.

Meeting Pierre Soulages

After the end of the Second World War, Pierrette Bloch returned to Paris where she studied law and literature. Turning her attention to drawing and painting, she joined the studio of Jean Souverbie in 1947. The following year, Pierrette Bloch studied with André Lhote and then Henri Goetz in their studios. The latter introduced Bloch to the painter Pierre Soulages, with whom she developed a close friendship. Influenced by Pierre Soulages and also Nicolas de Staël, Pierrette Bloch created her first abstract paintings, which were heavily textured and structured using grid compositions.

The artist Pierrette Bloch’s “years of wandering”

Pierrette Bloch’s work was exhibited for the first time at the Salon des Surindépendants in Paris in 1949. The artist’s first solo exhibition was presented in 1951 at the Galerie Mai in the French capital. Pierrette Bloch’s first solo exhibition in the United States took place in the same year, presented at the Hacker Gallery in New York. The following year, the artist’s work was shown at the French Art of the XXth Century exhibition at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1953, Pierrette Bloch created her first collages and moved into a studio on Rue Antoine-Chantin in the 14th arrondissement of Paris.

In the 1950s, Pierrette Bloch’s work was defined by the importance of rhythm, the balance between fullness and emptiness, and the contrast between black and white. Entering a period that she called her “years of wandering”, the artist withdrew from the art world to her studio.

The artist Pierrette Bloch’s work on paper

The 1960s were a period of investigation and experimentation for Pierrette Bloch, who abandoned painting in 1965 to devote herself to collage. In 1968, the artist spent some time in New York where she created her first collages on paper—Canson, kraft or Bristol—which she mounted on Masonite panels.

In the early 1970s, Pierrette Bloch began working with ink on paper, creating networks of spots and dots on white backgrounds that would become emblematic of her work. At the same time, she experimented with other techniques—using chalk, charcoal, graphite, oil pastels and dry pastels.

The artist Pierrette Bloch’s work in textiles

The year 1973 marked an important juncture in Pierrette Bloch’s work, as the artist began integrating cords and threads into her work. Pierrette Bloch began creating meshes using hemp in 1978 and adopted horsehair as a material in 1984. These materials would become essential to her work. A textile artist, Pierrette Bloch used weaving, braiding, knitting and embroidery techniques to create paths and lines sometimes reaching up to several metres in length. These minimal sculptural forms were made up of loops running over a taut nylon thread. These works were influenced by the minimalist music that the artist discovered in 1976.

The artist’s “lines of paper” and “places of uncertainty” 

Pierrette Bloch’s work in relief found its counterpart in the artist’s pictorial work when she created her first “lines of paper” in 1994. In a form of abstract writing, the artist produced loops of ink imitating loops of fibre. Pierrette Bloch’s own writing was also reflected throughout her work, the artist’s poetic texts regularly accompanying her pictorial works.

Bloch also created what she called her “places of uncertainty”, producing boundless arrays of dots in Indian ink on white paper in long-format pieces that could stretch to more than ten metres in length. The theme of repetition played an essential role in Pierrette Bloch’s work, which was characterised by her large formats and economical use of resources.

In 1999, Pierrette Bloch’s work was presented in a retrospective exhibition at the Musée de Grenoble in Grenoble, France, and then at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in La-Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. In 2002, the Cabinet d’Art Graphique at the Centre Pompidou exhibited the artist’s works, and the following year, a solo exhibition entitled Lignes et crins was presented at the Musée Picasso in Antibes. In 2005, the Fondation Pro-Mahj at the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme in Paris awarded the Maratier Prize to Pierrette Bloch for her life’s work. In 2009, the Musée Fabre in Montpellier presented a solo exhibition of Pierrette Bloch’s work. The following year, the artist participated in the exhibition On Line at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Pierrette Bloch died on 7 July 2017 in Paris, France.

© Diane de Polignac Gallery
Translation: Lucy Johnston

pierrette bloch - artist painter portrait

© Photo : James Caritey


Selected Collections

Amiens, Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain (FRAC) – Picardy

Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum

Antibes, Musée Picasso

Bethany, CT (United States), Josef & Anni Albers Foundation

Eilat (Israel), Eilat Museum, Israel

Geneva, MAMCO, Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain

Grenoble, Musée de Grenoble

La Fleuriaye (France), Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain (FRAC) – Pays de Loire

Les Sables d’Olonne, Musée de l’Abbaye Sainte-Croix

Metz, Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain (FRAC) – Lorraine

Montpellier, Musée Fabre

Neuchâtel, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire

New York, NY, Museum of Modern Art

New York, NY, New York Public Library

New York, NY, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Paris, Musée National d’Art Moderne – Centre Pompidou

Paris, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris

Paris, Fonds National d’Art Contemporain (FNAC)

Paris, Fondation Louis Vuitton

Paris, Manufacture Nationale des Gobelins, Mobilier National Collection

Paris, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme

Rennes, Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain (FRAC) – Brittany

Sitges (Spain), Stämpfli Foundation

Vevey (Switzerland), Nestlé Art Collection, Musée Jenisch Vevey

Zurich, Museum Bellerive


Selected Exhibitions

Salon des Surindépendants, Paris, 1949

Pierrette Bloch, Hacker Gallery, New York, 1951

Galerie Mai, Paris, 1951

French Art of the XXth Century, Cambridge Art Association, Harvard University, Cambridge (MA), 1952

Salon des Surindépendants, Paris, 1962

Force Nouvelle, American Artist’s Center, Paris, 1962

Peintures récentes, Galeries Georges Bongers, Paris, 1963

Maison de la Culture, Le Havre, 1967

Collages, Galerie La Roue, Paris, 1971

Grandes femmes et petits formats, Galerie Iris Clert, Paris, 1974

Musée de l’Abbaye Sainte-Croix, Les Sables d’Olonne, 1976

Encres et mailles, Galerie de France, Paris, 1978

Drawing: an exhibition of seven French artists, Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, NY, 1978

Mailles et mailles de crin, Maison de la Culture, Namur (Belgium), 1982

Lignes, mailles et fils de crin, Galerie Faust, Geneva, 1986

Mailles, collages et fils de crin, Musée d’Art Moderne, Troyes (France), 1987

Encres sur papier, Bibliothèque Municipale, Villeneuve-d’Ascq (France), 1992

Lignes et dessins de crin, Galerie Rosa Turetsky, Geneva, 1993

Pierrette Bloch, Janus Avivson Gallery, London, 1995

Maison des Arts Georges-Pompidou, Cajarc (France), 1998

Galerie Rosa Turetsky, Geneva, Switzerland, 1999

Retrospective exhibition, Musée de Grenoble, Grenoble, 1999

Musée des Beaux-Arts, La-Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland), 1999

Pierrette Bloch, Cabinet d’Art Graphique – Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2002

Lignes et crins, Musée Picasso, Antibes, 2003

Œuvres récentes, Galerie Frank Elbaz, Paris, 2004

Galerie Stadtpark, Krems (Austria), 2005

Pierrette Bloch, Œuvres 1968 – 2005, Galerie Lucie Weill & Seligmann, Paris, 2005

Lignes verticales, 36 dessins, Galerie Rosa Turetsky, Geneva, Switzerland, 2005

Art Paris, Grand Palais, Galerie Marwan Hoss, Paris, 2006

Galerie Lucie Weill & Seligmann, Paris, 2006

Black and white abstractions, Haim Chanin Fine Arts, New York, 2006

Galerie Phobus, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, 2006

Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme, Paris, 2006

Le noir est une couleur, Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul de Vence (France), 2006

Collages 1953-1977, Galerie Lucie Weill & Seligmann, Paris, 2007

L’ivresse de l’absolu, Fondation pour l’Art Contemporain Claudine et Jean-Marc Salomon, Alex (France), 2008

Musée Fabre, Montpellier, 2009

Haim Chanin Fine Arts, New York, 2009

On Paper, Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris, 2009

On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century, group exhibition, MoMA, New York, 2010

Selected Works, Haim Chanin Fine Arts, New York, 2010

On Paper II, Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris, 2010

Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne, 2011

Œuvres de 1975 à 2011, Galerie Rosa Turetsky, Geneva, 2011

Manière noires, Beaux-Arts de Mons, Mons (France), 2011

Pierrette Bloch, l’intervalle, Musée Jenisch Vevey, Vevey (Switzerland), 2013

Solo exhibition, La Maison des Arts, Bages D’Aude (France), 2013

Designing Modern Women, MoMA, New York, 2013

Punkt, Linie, Poesie, Museum Pfalzgalerie, Kaiserslautern (Germany), 2014

Decorum, Tapis et tapisseries d’artistes, Musée de la Ville de Paris, Paris 2014

Retrospective exhibition, Musée Jenisch Vevey, Vevey (Switzerland), 2014

Œuvres récentes, Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris, 2015

Un certain nombre d’œuvres. 1971-2016, Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris, 2017

Quelques traits, Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris, 2018

The dotted line, Galerie Karsten Greve, St. Moritz (Switzerland), 2020


Selected Bibliography

Françoise Cachin-Nora in Cimaise, No. 127-128, 1976

Pierre Encrevé, L’ombre de l’écriture, Entretien avec Pierrette Bloch, Maison des Arts Georges Pompidou, Cajarc, 1998

Pierrette Bloch, exhibition catalogue, Musée National d’Art Moderne – Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2002

Alfred Pacquement, Olivier Kaeppelin, Yves le Fur, Lignes d’encre, lignes de crin, Musée National d’Art Moderne – Centre Pompidou, 2002

Marie-Jo Bonnet, Les Femmes artistes dans les avant-gardes, Éditions Odile Jacob, 2006

Amblart Elisabeth (dir.), Pierrette Bloch, exhibition catalogue, Musée Fabre, Montpellier, Arles, Actes Sud, 2009

Pamela Lee, Julie Enckell-Julliard, Catherine de Zegher, Nicolas Muller, Laurence Schmidlin, Pierrette Bloch, Éditions Ringier, 2013

Pierrette Bloch, Discours & Circonstances, Éditions Méridianes, 2013

Pierrette Bloch : un certain nombre d’œuvres 1971-2016, exhibition catalogue, Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris, 2017

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