“Movement is my life” maintains Jean Miotte.
Indeed, movement and dance have fascinated deeply the artist. In 1948, Miotte followed his Russian friends to London where the Ballets Russes de Colonel W. de Basil were performing. It was with great joy that he discovered the world of dance. The artist explained: “I savoured the first wonders and discoveries of the choreographic world, the arabesques, the theatrical organisation of lines, of rhythm…” The artist adds: “In 1948, I may have experienced the most important weeks of my life.”
Miotte became friends with some of the key figures in dance, including the dancers Zizi Jeanmaire, Wladimir Skouratoff and Rosella Hightower, who even asked him to design sets for her choreographic works. Miotte thus became involved with the Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas – whose members included Rosella Hightower and Wladimir Skouratoff – which was based in Monte Carlo. Towards the end of the 1940s, Miotte often depicted dancers in his work. After that, Miotte’s painting became non-figurative, drawing on dramatic play and performance. Movement became fundamental to his work.
Jean-Clarence Lambert described his work as a form of “choreographic abstraction”. Miotte wanted to achieve a fusion of the visual and performing arts. “I have a passion for dance and choreography…” he confided, “I dream of a magnificent synthesis of painting, music and choreography.” Throughout his career, Jean Miotte created a number of stage sets and costumes.
In 1994, his spectacular five-metre canvas Sud (South) entered the collection of the Opéra Bastille, where it is on display today.
JEAN MIOTTE & THE DANCE, A choreographic abstraction, organized in collaboration with the Fondation Jean Miotte, focuses on the artist’s close ties to dance. Amandine Albisson, Prima Ballerina at the Paris Opera, is a partner of our exhibition: her preface figures in the catalogue.