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Marc Saint-Saëns

Le paon (the peacock)

 

Tapestry woven by the Baudonnet workshop.
With label.
1959.

 

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.

 

The number and variety of animals used in his tapestries by Saint-Saëns is not so rich as others of his contemporaries such as Lurçat, Perrot or Dom Robert, principally known for his peacocks. Here the use, as if off the ground, of a similar motif (despite the fact that it more ressembles a cockerel than a peacock) illustrates the variety of solutions employed by the painter-cartonniers of the period.

 

 

 

Bibliography :
Exhibition catalogue Saint-Saëns, galerie La Demeure, 1970
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