It’s Day 165 and I decided to do an outsider artist today. I found today’s artist and loved his work. I’ve been working on a couple of larger paintings on top of my daily painting so my days have been filled with paint! Join me in celebrating Gerard Sendrey today.
Sendrey was a civil servant in Begles, near Bordeaux in his native France until his retirement in 1988. However, for a decade, starting in 1967, he also painted intensively and spontaneously, before turning to drawing as his main medium.
Throughout this first period of creative outpouring he worked without consideration of audiences or
artistic context. Then, in 1979 his work was exhibited in the Galerie du Fleuve and a year later a number of drawings were acquired for the annexe collection (Neuve Invention) of the Collection de Art Brut in Lausanne.
In 1989 he founded the Site de la Creation Franche, which emphasises the work of French self-taught artists and those marginal creators sometimes referred to as artistes singuliers. Sendrey’s early drawings consist of intricately wrought geometric marks, creating a packed, shallow picture space out of which figures or faces emerge. In recent works, such as this one, discreet, fantastical elements seemingly exude into the indeterminate spatial void of the picture ground.
Above is from the Henry Boxer Gallery. It’s a wonderful site that features a bunch of outsider artists.
Before entering retirement, Gerard Sendrey worked as civil servant in Begles, a small village in the Bordeaux country of France. During much of the time that he was reporting to the village hall, dealing with quotidian municipal matters, Sendrey was leading a second life, one unknown even to his co-workers. At every opportunity he had away from his job, he was painting.
Sendrey seems always to have been at least two artists in a single body. Sometimes he
produces paintings that, like those of the surrealist Andre Masson or the abstract expressionist Robert Motherwell, take their form through a kind of automatic writing where he attempts to suspend thought and let the subconscious take over. On other occasions, he turns outs ink drawings that appear so maddeningly detailed that their creation would seem to require the concentration of a brain surgeon.
Sendrey is the embodiment of that species identified as “outsider artist.” He was around 40 before he started producing his first paintings and drawings. For the next dozen years or so, while working in isolation, he kept expanding the universe of his subjects. Often he turned out Expressionist style portraits of men and women who, like the subjects of Georges Rouault and Alberto Giacometti, seemed weighted with bottomless sorrow.
Sendrey was given his first solo show in 1979 at the Galerie du Fleve, a small cellar
space in Bordeaux. By marvelous chance, the exhibition was seen by Michel Thevoz, curator of the Musee de l’Art in Lausanne, Switzerland, begun by Jean Dubuffet.
Thevoz, an important critic and writer, pronounced Sendrey as a major discovery. In a published appraisal, he wrote: Rare is the artist who doesn’t give in to the temptation to conform his art to the broad public’s standards of what comprises good form, taste and aesthetic norm. Gerard Sendrey is one of these rarities. He risks new adventure without regard to whether his art might upset the tautological preferences of the viewer and cause some discomfort.
Within a year after his first show, Sendrey’s work entered the collections of virtually all the museums in Europe that have collections of art brut, among them the Musee de l’Art in Lausanne, the Musee l’Aracine in Neuilly, France, and the Centre
de Recherche et de Diffusion d’Art en Marge in Brussels, Belgium, Later his work would enter numerous institutional collections in the United States, among them those of the Museum of American Folk Art in New York City, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Chicago Center for Self Taught Art and the Anthony Petullo Collection of Self Taught Art, Milwaukee.
Above is from the Dean Jensen Gallery.
I had so many ideas for today’s painting. I decided to do a mixture of his styles. I thought about sticking with black and white, but paint the canvas black and do the details in white. I did that first, but then decided to add a few different hues of blue to the piece and I’m glad that I did. I like how my piece turned out. I hope I captured his style. I had a wonderful time painting this piece. I hope you enjoy it and I’ll see you tomorrow on Day 166. 200 more paintings to go!