Jean Fautrier

  • Born 1898 in Paris, France
  • Died 1964 in Châtenay-Malabry, France
Jean Fautrier was a painter, printmaker, and sculptor who is best remembered for his work in tachisme, a non-geometric abstract style that emphasizes spontaneous brushwork, drips and scribble-like marks. His father and grandmother raised Fautrier in Paris until 1908, when he moved to London with his mother. He began his artistic training at London’s Royal Academy of Arts in 1912, briefly transferring to the Slade School of Fine Art in search of a less conventional, more experimental practice. He then began to paint independently in the galleries and museums of London, particularly from the work of the romantic landscapist J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851). He returned to France in 1917 to serve in the French Army. Fautrier struggled as an artist in the 1930s, working as a ski instructor and running a jazz club in the French Alps between 1934 and 1939, during which time he painted very little. During and after World War II, Fautrier illustrated books by Georges Bataille (1897–1962) and Paul Éluard (1895–1952). The Gestapo briefly detained Fautrier in 1943; later, while in hiding, he completed his “Otages” (Hostages) series, which attracted critical attention. The Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris hosted a retrospective of Fautrier’s work in 1989.

Artworks by Jean Fautrier in the exhibition