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A national tribute to Pierre Soulages will be paid Wednesday at the Louvre

Emmanuel Macron will preside over the ceremony, which is to begin at 3:00 p.

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A national tribute to Pierre Soulages will be paid Wednesday at the Louvre

Emmanuel Macron will preside over the ceremony, which is to begin at 3:00 p.m. in the Cour Carrée du Louvre, in the presence of members of the government and the family of the artist, known worldwide in the world of painting for his paintings in infinite shades of black.

It will be open to the public.

Born on December 24, 1919 in Rodez in an artisan environment that fed his imagination, Pierre Soulages, who became a world celebrity in French painting, died Tuesday evening of heart failure.

Fascinated by prehistory from an early age, the artist had worked a great deal with walnut stain before continuing with his large black flat areas of oil paint, which he scraped, scratched and modeled almost in the thickness of the painting, bringing out shades of red, blue and unexpected transparencies.

He had fallen into what he called "outrenoir" in 1979, when he was painting on a work entirely covered in thick black, streaked by chance.

"I like the authority of black, its gravity, its obviousness, its radicality (...) Black has unsuspected possibilities", said the artist.

Tall, always dressed in black, Soulages had acquired a real worldwide reputation thanks to his large canvases in a thousand shades of black. He said he was trying to "bring out the light".

For more than 75 years, he tirelessly traced his path, attracting the recognition of cultural institutions and the art market which made him one of the most highly rated French artists during his lifetime.

One of his 1961 canvases sold for $20.2 million in New York in November 2021. The painting titled "Painting 162x130 cm, May 2, 1963" sold on Wednesday for nearly 6 million euros, a announced Sotheby's in the evening.

He had already had the honor of a tribute to the Louvre in 2019, at the dawn of his 100th birthday. Until then, only Picasso and Chagall had had this privilege during their lifetime.

After his death, the Parisian institution hailed on its Twitter account a "companion to the museum for more than 50 years".

"Pierre Soulages had known how to reinvent black, by bringing light to it. Beyond black, his works are vivid metaphors from which each of us draws hope", reacted Emmanuel Macron.

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