Georges Noël (1924-2010) is an exception. An aeronautical engineer, he left the industry for art in 1956. Very present on the European scene in the early 1960s, he nevertheless took the risk of leaving for New York in 1968, and remained there until 1983. Back in France, without worrying about the fashions of the moment, he continued his experiments. They are only pictorial, in the usual sense of the word, being made on canvas. For the tube colors he used in his early days, Noël soon replaced polyvinyl acetate – the white glue – in which he introduced, in varying dosages, pigments and silica powders. These mixtures are placed in varying degrees of thickness, scratched in places, at others incised, marked with grids and, sometimes, signs that make one think of prehistoric pictograms. The grainy and sandy textures appeal to the touch as much as the sight. The colors, ochres and grays of all shades or deep blue, owe their density and brilliance to this specific technique. These palimpsests seem to be traces of vanished civilizations. They also call for comparisons with the art of contemporaries of Christmas, and especially with Cy Twombly. The question then is: why is the work of Christmas, no less powerful than that of Twombly, not so much shown and esteemed? We can hope, without really believing it, that time will correct this irritating inequality of treatment.
« The Magic of the Sign », Galerie Dutko, 4, rue de Bretonvilliers, Paris 4e. Until December 22. Tuesday to Saturday, 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Dutko.com