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    • Exhibition

    Bissière, the other half

    The Painted Diary 1962-1964

    16 September 2023 to 14 January 2024

    From 16 September 2023 to 14 January 2024, the Musée Granet in Aix-en-Provence will present an exhibition at the Chapelle des Pénitents blancs-Granet XXe organised in partnership with the Jean and Suzanne Planque Foundation as part of the long-term loan of its collections to the museum.

    The exhibition explores “The Painted Diary" produced between 1962 and 1964 by French artist Roger Bissière (1886-1964) in the last two years of his life. A series of small paintings dated the day they were made, the work is dedicated to the memory of his wife. Initially his model, she became the subject of his paintings and from the mid-1940s onwards also helped to ‘fabricate' the work by sewing and embroidering hangings made from appliqué fabrics. When she died suddenly on 13 October 1962, the woman nicknamed 'Mousse' became the subject and raison d'être of this series of paintings.

    Although Bissière was devastated by her death, he quickly returned to his studio. “Like an apple tree produces apples," the painter created, with the use of his brush and a few felt-tip pens, an ambitious series of 152 paintings in which he captures his everyday surroundings in images. Over the course of 780 days, he executed these small compositions, dated from one day to the next, on wooden boards laid on his knees. Rather than describe the world, he sought to recreate, through the colours and movements of his brush, the freshness of the woods, the incandescence of fire, the airiness of a spring day, the heat of summer at midday in the Lot region of southwestern France, and the darkness of night.

    Steeped in nature and the landscape he loved, he expressed its budding life and perpetual rebirth. These images are a projection of the artist in search of spiritual communion with the viewer. He paints "to be less alone in this miserable world" and to reach out to others across space and time.

    The exhibition, planned in close collaboration with the artist's family, is composed of a selection of forty-seven of these paintings, many seen in public for the first time.

    Born on 22 September 1886 in Villeréal (Lot-et-Garonne) and died on 2 December 1964 in Boissièrette (Lot), Roger Bissière was a French painter of the new School of Paris. He was one of the first of a generation of artists who brought non-figurative painting to the fore in the 1950s.

    The exhibition is curated by Florian Rodari, honorary curator and director of the Fondation Jean et Suzanne Planque, Maïlis Favre, curator, and Isabelle and Caroline Bissière, the artist's granddaughters.

    Catalogue (In French)
    Bissière, la part de l'Autre (Publication March 2023)
    Texts by Florian Rodari, director of the Fondation Jean et Suzanne Planque, Isabelle Bissière, art historian and granddaughter of the artist, and Alain Madeleine-Perdrillat, art historian.
    Published by La Dogana - "L'Œil de Planque" collection
    80 pages | 16.5 x 23.5 cm
    Price: €20

    In 2011, the Jean and Suzanne Planque Foundation deposited at the Musée Granet the collection of Jean Planque (1910-1998), a major Swiss collector, consisting of some 300 paintings, drawings and sculptures from the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists (Cézanne, Monet, Van Gogh, Degas) to the major artists of the 20th century such as Bonnard, Picasso, Braque, Léger, de Staël and Dubuffet.

    In order to present the essence of this magnificent collection, the museum has been enlarged in the chapel of the Pénitents blancs, a jewel of Aix-en-Provence's 17th century architecture. More than 700 m2 of additional exhibition space is now available to the public.
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