Mis à jour le 29.02.2012 Informations légales


"Marcelle Cahn begins doing cubist paintings after 1920. Her contact with Fernand Léger and her studies at the Académie Moderne in Paris under his direction and that of Ozenfant allow her to deepen her search. Indeed, right from the beginning of her work she attempts to reach a discipline which allows her to order her feelings. Léger teaches her the importance of drawing, which, according to him, introduces distance with regard to the subject which is represented. He proposes considering the object as a pretext for the creation of new contrasts, of new rhythms (…). By means of his discipline, he leads Marcelle Cahn to adopt a more analytical approach and a more polished technique. The paintings done at this period are of a purist aesthetic quality.

They are characterized by a refining of the elements of the composition : figures and objects are stylized, reduced to their simple contours, placed next to geometric shapes. As a result of this disciplined work, Marcelle Cahn tackles abstraction in 1925.In doing so she goes against Léger’s prescriptions and he warns her in these terms : ‘You don’t know where you are going. "Marcelle Cahn’s passage to abstraction is not due to outside influences but rather to the demand of unity in her work (...).

Playing an active part in the small circle of Parisian avant-garde geometric artists in the 1920’s, she is invited to participate in Cercle et Carré in 1929 by Michel Seuphor. She particularly appreciates the lack of dogmatism and the electicism of the group ; during numerous informal meetings she spends time speaking to Mondrian and Vantongerloo.
Beginning in 1946, after a long period of doubt and isolation, Marcelle Cahn finds her way back to abstract expression of forms using curved lines and an abundance of colour (…)

In 1952 a radical change shows up in her work. She suddenly returns to a very structured geometric construction and finds the style which characterizes it : paintings with white backgrounds crossed by straight black lines which organize the surface with the help of elementary coloured or uncoloured shapes , of spheres and of disks in relief ."

Extract from the Catalogue of the exhibition "Histoires de blanc et de noir". Musée de Grenoble, 1996. Text by Nathalie Cattaruzza and Céline Chicha.
With permission from the Museum of Grenoble.

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A self-guided walking tour "In the footsteps of Marcelle Cahn in Strasbourg" Click here. The booklet "Rencontres avec Marcelle Cahn" is published. Click here
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