Physical Dimensions: w164 x h98 cm (Without frame)
Exhibition: Caramulo, Portugal
Donated by:: João Monteiro de Mendonça
Description: A largely self-taught artist, Jean Lurçat evolved from painting, which he initially practised under the influence of both Cubism and, throughout the 1930s, Surrealism, to tapestry. Deeply moved in 1939 by the “Angers Apocalypse”, Lurçat was responsible for the recovery of that art in France, and in the following year, together with M. Grommaire, he reorganised the manufacture of Aubusson tapestries. It was at Aubusson that Lurçat really learned the art of tapestry-making, rediscovering and renewing the traditional techniques, classifying the colours and reducing their number, and, above all, attracting young artists to an area of art that, until then, had lived exclusively from the reproduction of ancient motifs. Nobody, however, was better placed than Lurçat himself to bring about the renewal of contemporary tapestry. Endowed with an extraordinary sense of elegance, it was throughout the 1950s that Lurçat developed the best of his production, to which this work bears eloquent testimony: a border of plants, depicted in a flame-like stylisation that was typical of his work, frames a star-filled firmament, a genuine tapestry sky, in which there hovers, as if suspended in mid air, the motif of a goat, also flame-like in appearance. The sophistication of form that is displayed here is associated in exemplary fashion with the chromatic exaltation and the full decorative sense of the piece, justifying the universal acclaim that Lurçat enjoyed and the influence that he exercised, as much as anywhere else in Portugal, where the neo-realist Mário Dionísio considered him to be quite justifiably “the magician of wool”, and where the painter and tapestry-maker Guilherme Camarinha was particularly sensitive to his proposals, through the numerous cartoons that he produced for the manufacture of tapestries in Portalegre.