Geneviève Claisse’s first works were lyrical abstractions treated in vivid patches of solid colour. She later expanded her vocabulary in her search for movement and multiple spaces that would animate the flatness of the painted surface. Circles and triangles, which the artist treats in turns and independently, are the two recurring themes in her serial compositions, in which the extreme simplicity of the shapes is transfigured by the variations in colour ratios (Cercles [Circles] series, 1964-1972). G. Claisse’s two-dimensional kinetic approach reached a new peak in the mid-1970s when she temporarily gave up shapes and colours in favour of the geometric play of black lines on a white background. Enhanced by what she learned from her foray into the very heart of painting, her work reverted to a comparative treatment of colour, which the artist chose to use with the strictest economy of means, alternating solid colour blocks and lines (Plénitudes et transparences [Plenitudes and transparencies]). During this transitional period, the white background became a permanent feature in her work.
In her latest pieces, diagonals, medians and symmetry, which she had rejected thus far, generate new rules and give rise to new and powerful artwork. Her vision is expressed at its fullest and most successful when it merges with architecture and sculpture. G. Claisse’s work is exhibited worldwide. She represented France at the International Association of Art (UNESCO) from 1986 to 1995, taking over from Sonia Delaunay*. She is also the author of an art book and catalogue raisonné on the painting of Auguste Herbin, for which she was awarded the 1994 Élie-Faure Prize.
Geneviève Claisse, Roche Corneille, 1995, acrylic on canvas, 130 x 97 cm, © A&R Fleury, © ADAGP, Paris