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Almine Rech

The estate of Jean Miotte

Jean Miotte is one of the prominent figures of lyrical abstraction within the New School of
Paris. Since the very beginning, he favored gestures and action to transpose an emotion
testifying of his complex relationship with sensitive reality, a philosophical and spiritual
experience in service of the symbolism of the image. His discourse is borne out of
a semantics where he regards the sign as the “I” who paints: "I am painting" he declares.
His approach tends to two extremes, on the one hand a writing at the height of thought
and sensation, and jointly and exuberant spontaneity until the loss of oneself, in a Zen
spirit. This vocation of the void was manifested especially from 1962 on, following regular
stays in New York where he bonds with Rothko and Motherwell. Miotte gives praise to
white that has become light, and which “radiates and erases limits”, he says. The fluid
space is cut across by vigorous flat areas that extend into hemmed waves, torn to
shreds in a spatial labyrinth whose complacent pitfalls it suppresses.

His painting shows a return to polychromy with a palette of pure tones, favoring the
primaries whose sounds he exploits. The use of brushes, spatulas, knives, allows the
effervescence of a cursive graphic design in colors with rich, vibrant, and sharp accents for
a moving universe governed by contradictory and dual forces. A dissemination appeared in
the seventies and eighties, for a new cycle centered on metamorphosis. Between violence
and refinement, density and transparency, fervor and revolt, Jean Miotte’s painting
achieves the quivering balance of life. The rhythmic arabesque of its forms is an echo of
the dance that inspires it. The unity of his language is realized in this informal lyricism
which reaches a pictorial plenitude by managing to give substance to his sensations of
light, to make an indefinable sacred coincide in the energy of living.

Jean Miotte, who exhibited in Paris with Joan Mitchell, Jean-Paul Riopelle, and
Sam Francis, transcends a singular and immediately recognizable body of work.

— Lydia Harambourg, Historian, Writer, Art Critic, Corresponding Member of the Institut
de France, Académie des beaux-arts

Selected artworks

  • Jean Miotte,                                      Sud, 1991

    Jean Miotte Sud, 1991

    Acrylic on canvas
    195 x 520 cm
    77 x 205 in
    Opéra Bastille Collection, Work reproduced in the catalog La Différence by Karl Ruhrberg Courtesy of Jean Miotte Foundation and Opéra Bastille

Gallery exhibitions