Art Market

François Morellet’s estate will now be represented by Hauser & Wirth.

Justin Kamp
Nov 24, 2020 9:58PM, via ARTnews
François Morellet
Néons 3D : 15°-90°-40°, 2015
Galerie Nikolaus Ruzicska

The estate of the late conceptual artist François Morellet will now be represented by Hauser & Wirth, leaving behind Lévy Gorvy, which represented the artist’s estate since 2017. Morellet, who died in 2016 at the age of 90, is best known for his geometric painting and light-based practices, which prefigured Minimalist art and played an important role in the development of geometric abstraction. Hauser & Wirth will stage its first show of Morellet’s work at the gallery’s New York space in January 2021.

Morellet’s foundational experiments with industrial fabrication and neon-based light works arose in part from the artist’s time spent working at his family’s toy factory in Cholet, France. In 1961, he founded the Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel (GRAV) with artists Joël Stein, Julio Le Parc, Jean-Pierre Yvaral, Francisco Sobrino, and Horacio Garcia Rossi to create multi-sensory installations; a few years later, he began producing works with neon. Morellet has participated in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Documenta in Kassel, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Venice Biennale. His work has been acquired by a number of institutions, including the Los Angeles Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Seoul Museum of Art, Tate Britain, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and the Kunsthaus Zurich. He is also one of three contemporary artists to have a permanent installation at the Louvre in Paris.

Marc Payot, president of Hauser & Wirth, told ARTNews:

Morellet has always occupied a very idiosyncratic position in the evolution of modern and contemporary art, not really fitting neatly into any single, specific movement of “ism.” A precursor to Minimalism and Conceptualism, he was among artists experimenting with materials like neon in the early 1960s, which was very radical for the time.

According to Artsy data, inquiries on works by Morellet on the platform more than doubled the year immediately following the artist's death in 2016. 2017 also saw a posthumous survey of Morellet's work at New York's Dia Art Foundation which was the artist’s first U.S.-based solo museum show since 1985. While interest has waned slightly since then, inquiries in 2020 look to be on track to match 2017's peak.

Justin Kamp