The Galerie Christophe Gaillard is pleased to present for the first time the work of Georges Noël, with the support of Margit Rowell and the artist's family.
Glancing at some paintings of Georges Noel
We must start off rereading Book One of the Metamorphoses of Ovid :
“Before there was earth or sea or the sky that covers everything, Nature appeared the same throughout the whole world: what we call chaos: a raw confused mass, nothing but inert matter, badly combined discordant atoms of things, confused in the one place. There was no Titan yet, shining his light on the world […]. Though there was land and sea and air, it was unstable land, unswimmable water, air needing light. Nothing retained its shape, one thing obstructed another, because in the one body, cold fought with heat, moist with dry, soft with hard, and weight with weightless things.”
From chaos, draw out frameworks, dig into the most secret systems.
From the primal forces of the Earth (see Magma Originel, 1958 and Gavrinis, 1990), through invented codexes (Rosetta Stone, 1964) or enchanting devices (The Magic Window, 1963), the works of Georges Noël draws a new cosmogony.
Heal-Hear the disorder.
Contain-Consecrate the original abyss.
Like Bach, whose four lettered-name unified one of the most perfected composition, the painter reconciles the elements with a calculated and emulative order.
What if the complete work of Georges Noël was just another attempt to express what Mallarmé implied in his famous verse : « Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard » (adice throw at any time never will abolish chance) ?
The philosopher Quentin Messailloux suggested a brilliant decipherment : “it is the work of a chaman in connection with the obscure and hidden forces, eager to offer us and transcribe the primal balance”.
Christophe Gaillard, May 2023
Although Georges Noël’s art could be associated with art informel and lyrical abstraction, he always expressed his independence from any movement. An important figure on the European scene in the 1960s, in 1968 he left France for the United States, where he lived and worked until 1983. From early in his career, Noël multiplied technical experiments and invented a personal medium, what he called his pictorial “magma”.
“…it was through myself that I tried to find the universe again. Getting out of the center, going over there, coming back here. That recreated in me the enigma of a thinking, breathing, hearing, smelling, touching individual. I was like an alchemist in a laboratory,”
as the artist said to writer Michel Butor.
The medium that Georges Noël invented is a combination of a polyvinyl acetate glue that is particularly resistant once dry, sand or ground silex, and pure pigments. He worked with this unique material, applying densely coloured layers, in which the raw surface, granular or velvety, appeals to the eye and the sense of touch. His complete mastery of his technique allowed him to work quickly. Incisions, graffiti, writing, superpositions, surface rips or tears… reveal the primitive strata of the artwork and bear witness to his fascination for prehistoric, archaic, and tribal cultures.
The historical scope of the painted, drawn, and sculpted work of Georges Noël is broad: it was promoted by the Galerie Paul Facchetti as of 1957, then in New York by the Pace Gallery and the Arnold Herstand Gallery from 1973 onwards. Upon his return to France in 1983, he prepared a major exhibition at the Abbaye de Senanque and a retrospective at the CNAP in Paris in 1985. The evolution of his painting shows a synthesis of the gestural idiom of his beginnings and an underlying structure established during his American period. Commencing in those years, he regularly exhibited in Paris, Italy, Germany, and Japan, where his work is particularly appreciated.
Today, Georges Noël’s artworks are in institutions around the world. They are notably found in France at the Musée National d’Art Moderne – Centre Georges Pompidou, at the Musée National de la Ville de Paris, and the Pinault Collection in Paris, the Muséed’arts de Nantes, the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Pau, as well as in many prestigious foreign collections such as at the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, or at the Ise Cultural Foundation in Tokyo.
 Gladys Fabre, Georges Noël, Paris, La Différence, 1997, p. 20.