La terre (Earth)
Aubusson tapestry woven in the Goubely workshop.
Complete with label signed by the artist, n°EA.
Michel Tourlière, through both his production and his official responsibilities, was one of the leading lights of the renewal of the art of tapestry in the XXth century. Trained at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Toulière met Lurçat as early as 1945, designed his first cartoon « le vigneron » (the winegrower) in 1946 (in the same year he moved to Aubusson), became a founder member of the APCT (Association des Peintres-Cartonniers de Tapisserie) in 1947. After this explosive start to his career, he became a teacher at the Ecole Nationale des Arts Décoratifs in Aubusson, then its director in 1960 before becoming the director of the Paris school in 1970, while at the same time creating the ministerial delegation of artistic creativity at the Ministry of Culture. Despite his heavy official responsibilities (which paved his way to numerous public commissions), Tourlière designed many cartoons (around 300) in a lyrical abstract style, a personal transcription from nature, comprising simplified, ridged (irregular weaving technique) shapes (scrolls, circles…) in warm colours redolent of autumn (orange, red, brown) which give an undulating relief effect.
The title itself is equivocal : does it mean the Earth (Tourlière also designed a « Univers » Universe), or, more likely, a reference to « terroir » an idea that held great significance for the artist and which he pictures in stones, sand, vines and vine stocks, in a kaleidoscopic design incorporating curved and undulating shapes in warm colours
Exhibition catalogue rétrospective 1945-1985, Paris Arts Center, 1986, ill p.31
Exhibition Catalogue Tourlière, Tapisseries, dessins 1945-1992, Angers, Musée Jean Lurçat et de la Tapisserie Contemporaine, Aubusson, Musée Départemental de la Tapisserie, 1992-1993 model illustrated p.73
Exhibition catalogue Michel Tourlière rétrospective, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Beaune, 2017