Martin Barré, ‘91 - 120 x 160 - A’, 1991, Galerie Nathalie Obadia

Image rights: Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Nathalie Obadia Paris/Brussels

About Martin Barré

A major figure in the history of post-war French abstraction, Martin Barré’s restless experimentalism led him to challenge accepted modes of abstract painting throughout his career, exploring line, color, form, and two-dimensional surface. Trained first in architecture before turning to painting, Barré’s compositions typically feature white backgrounds and spare forms with a distinct relationship between figure and ground; in his later career he painted brightly colored geometric shapes and introduced serial works. “I do not paint to convey moods,” he once said. “I use a rule, a ‘rule of the game,’ and I transgress it when it so requires.” He employed a range of tools at different points in the evolution of his practice, using a palette knife in his early career before going on to squeeze paint directly from tube to canvas, later turning to spray paint and stencils. He was profoundly influenced by the work of Kasimir Malevich, and his inventive approach to painting has been likened to the innovative spirits of his contemporaries Gerhard Richter and Robert Ryman.

French, 1924-1993, Nantes, France, based in Paris, France