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The collections : Musée Jean-Lurçat / contemporary tapestry

Jean Lurçat

(Bruyères, 1892 – Saint-Paul de Vence, 1966)

At the contemporary tapestry museum, a collection of works by Jean Lurçat allows visitors to further their knowledge of this artist. Thanks to a significant donation by Simone Lurçat in 1988 and a policy of regular acquisitions, the museum now displays some of the artist’s great works. The chronological presentation allows the visitor to follow the evolution of this painter and to explore the principal movements influencing art in the first half of the 20th century, particularly cubism and surrealism.

Jean Lurçat belongs to the generation of great cubist painters such as Picasso or Braque who suffered the trauma of the First World War (1914-1918). Such a trauma led the Dadaists and surrealists to question the status of art. Jean Lurçat was part of this movement but at the same time kept and developed a very colourful palette that was particularly attractive, and whose originality and skill have been underlined by art critics as early as the 1920s-1930s.

At the museum, a large space is also devoted to his tapestry work. Jean Lurçat is one of the key figures in the Renaissance of French tapestry, a movement that began after the war. From the 1910s-1920s onwards, he became interested in wall hangings and tapestry and executed needlepoint canvases.

After the war, he developed various techniques including numbered cartoons and coarse weaving with gros point, which allowed for a better transcription of the cartoons by the workshop charged with executing them. He called for a simplified version of the writing and contours of the cartoon, relying upon his study and knowledge of medieval tapestry in his attempt to develop such techniques.

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