Aubusson tapestry woven by the Legoueix workshop.
Complete with certificate of origin signed by the artist, n° 1 of 6
Lurçat approached Saint-Saëns, originally a painter of murals, in 1940. And during the war the latter produced the first of his allegorical masterpieces, tapestries reflecting indignation, combat, resistance : “les Vierges folles (the foolish virgins), “Thésée et le Minotaure” (Theseus and the Minotaur). At the end of the war, as a natural development he joined up with Lurçat, whose convictions he shared (concerning a simplified palette, outlined cartoons with colours indicated by pre-ordained numbers, and the specific nature of tapestry design…) at the A.P.C.T. (Association des Peintres-cartonniers de Tapisserie). His universe, where the human figure, stretched, elongated, ooccupies an important place (particularly when compared to his companions Lurçat or Picart le Doux), pivots around traditional themes : woman, the Commedia dell’arte, Greek mythology… refined by the brilliance of the colours and the simplification of the layout. His work would evolve later, in the 1960’s, towards cartoons of a more lyrical design, almost abstract where elemental and cosmic forces would dominate.
“Nuage” is one of these works : in a mood that is both poetic and dream-like (who has never imagined anthropomorphic shapes when contemplating clouds in the sky?), a cloud appears in a human form (or is it the reverse?), using shapes both willowy and elegant. According to the exhibition catalogues devoted to the artist, only two copies were made of this tapestry.
Exhibition catalogue Saint-Saëns, the tapestries, Aubusson, Musée départemental de la Tapisserie, 1987
Exhibition catalogue Marc Saint-Saëns, tapestries, 1935-1979, Angers, Musée Jean Lurçat et de la Tapisserie Contemporaine 1997-1998