Oiseaux et avions (Birds and planes)
Aubusson tapestry woven in the Goubely workshop.
Complete with certificate of origin signed by the artist.
« I became interested in the art of tapestry particularly because I was excited by the numbered cartoon technique consisting of the fabrication of a mental coloured image using a code…. Tapestry is an essential exercise. As I practised it, it is perhaps the desire to interrogate, down to the finest detail, a work which exists in two dimensions.” (quoted in the exhibition catalogue, Prassinos, rétrospective de l’oeuvre peint et dessiné, Puyricard, 1983). So much for the artist’s manifesto. Prassinos designed his first cartoons in 1951 (most of which, around 150, would be woven in the Goubely workshop); then he joined the A.P.C.T. (Association des Peintres-Cartonniers de Tapisserie). After several cartoons taking birds as their theme, Prassinos, like several other artists, despite being close to Lurçat, (Matégot, Wogensky…) turned resolutely towards abstraction, in a very personal style where sinuous shapes entwine in contrasting colours (often following a scheme of black-red-brown-beige).
We are here confronted with one of the first realisations of Prassinos in this medium, in 1952, taking as its theme birds which are here teamed with aeroplanes, in a thematic style in vogue at this period with other painter-cartoonists (Matégot, Jullien, Tourlière and particularly Wogensky,… it is noteworthy that this tapestry was acquired by the Mobilier National and that the state commissioned the artist in 1956 for two tapestries for the Centre Aéronautique de Paris taking as their theme “Inhabitants of the sky”). It is a perfect vehicle for the artist to express his particular taste for movement, still within a geometrical style and which has not yet completely abandoned the figurative. Strangely enough, the cartoon appears to have been woven in a different colour scheme, a yellow background with varying hues of grey (cf http://www.marioprassinos.com/tapisserie/index.htm) : is this due to a mistake in the interpretation of the cartoon (a famous example of this kind of error is the weaving of Saint-Saëns’ “Verseau” in two distinct colour schemes), or is it that the artist at this early stage in his career wanted to try out two different colours schemes for the same cartoon?
Cat. Exh. Prassinos, Tapisseries monumentales, abbaye de Montmajour, Arles, 1974
Cat. Exh. Mario Prassinos, Tapisseries , Aubusson, Musée départemental de la Tapisserie, 1984
Cat. Exh. Prassinos, Tapisseries, Angers, Musée Jean Lurçat et de la Tapisserie Contemporaine, 1988