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.
Virtual visit of the exhibition “Women in abstract art: Five women – five artisitic visions”, from March 8 to April 16, 2021
Virtual visit of the exhibition “Women in abstract art: Five women – five artisitic visions”.
From March 8 to April 16, 2021
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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
© Photo : James Caritey
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
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
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