Jaroslav Serpan

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Jaroslav Serpan , actually: Iaroslav Sossountzov Serpan (born June 4, 1922 in Karlštejn , Czechoslovakia ; † May 12, 1976 in the Pyrenees , France ), was a Czech-French painter . He is one of the most important representatives of abstract painting after the Second World War . His main works are assigned to Informel and Lyrical Abstraction.


Ivan Jaroslav Serpan was on June 4, 1922 in Karlštejn in Prague as a child of Russian born parents. In 1927 he moved to Paris , where he originally studied mathematics and biology at the Sorbonne before moving to painting in 1940. He participated in the surrealism movement in Paris in the 1940s . Under the artistic influence of Antoni Tàpies , André Masson and Wols , Serpan developed his art towards Informel and lyrical abstraction . He consistently formulates his own visual language from spontaneously painted lines, which combine on the canvas to form organisms with different structures using an écriture automatique and which manifest themselves as fields of force for psychic improvisations. At the transition from the 1960s to the 1970s, Serpan's formal language gradually solidified and visual worlds increasingly emerged, which he designed into interstellar worlds using, in part, comic-like colorful shapes, products of his creative imagination. In his late work one can see a certain turn to Kandinsky's Little Worlds , which emerged from 1922 and marked a change in his work.

On May 12, 1976 Jaroslav Serpan went missing while on a mountain tour in the Pyrenees in the Ariège department. His body was found in May 1981.


As early as 1947, the Maeght Gallery in Paris showed the first works by Serpan in the exhibition Le Surréalisme en 1947. Exposition internationale du surréalisme . In November 1951, Paul Facchetti exhibited works by Serpan in his studio Paul Facchetti in Paris, which had opened a month earlier, together with pictures by Jean Fautrier , Jean Dubuffet , Georges Mathieu and Henri Michaux , in the important exhibition: " Les Signifiants de l´ Informel " organized by the art critic Michel Tapié . With that the term Informel was formulated. A year later, Tapié wrote another famous article, Un art autre: où il s'agit de nouveaux dávilages du réel , which was also followed by an exhibition at Facchetti, a detailed essay on Art informel ( informal art ). In 1959 Serpan participated in documenta 2 in Kassel . Via Paul Facchetti the artist met Margarete Lauter , a gallery owner from Mannheim. Serpan had been friends with her and her family since the mid-1960s. Together with Lauter, he realized several presentations in solo and group exhibitions. After his death, the Lauter Gallery organized further projects in cooperation with Lucienne Sossountzov, the artist's widow.


  • 1947: Le Surréalisme en 1947. Exposition internationale du surréalisme , Galerie Maeght, Paris
  • 1951: Signifiants de l'informel , Paul Facchetti Studio, Paris
  • 1952: Un art autre, Paul Facchetti Studio, Paris
  • 1955: Jaroslav Serpan , Stadler Gallery, Paris
  • 1956: Jaroslav Serpan, Zimmergalerie Franck, Frankfurt am Main
  • 1957: Jaroslav Serpan, Kootz Gallery, New York; Stadler Gallery, Paris; Alfred Schmela Gallery, Düsseldorf
  • 1958: Jaroslav Serpan, Galerie van der Loo , Munich; Kootz Gallery, New York
  • 1959: Painting and Sculpture acquisitions, Museum of Modern Art, New York; Documenta II, (art after 1959), Hessisches Landesmuseum, Kassel
  • 1961: Jaroslav Serpan. Art Association Freiburg im Breisgau; Stadler Gallery, Paris
  • 1963–65: Premio Marzotto 1963, State Art Gallery, Baden-Baden, Stedelijk van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, Musée national d'art moderne, Paris
  • 1966: Jaroslav Serpan: Retrospective 1949 - 1966, Stadler Gallery, Paris
  • 1967: Jaroslav Serpan, Lauter Gallery , Mannheim
  • 1977: Serpan 1946-1976, Rétrospective, Center d'Art Contemporain, Abbaye de Beaulieu en Rouergue, Ginals
  • 1978: Serpan, a retrospective 1946-1976, Galerie Lauter, Mannheim
  • 1981: Galerie Lauter: 1963-1981, Mannheim
  • 1983: Serpan-1922-1976 , Fondation Nationale des Arts Plastiques et graphiques, Paris
  • 1984: Serpan (1922–1976) , Musée des Beaux-Arts , Lyon; Un Art Autre, un Autre Art: les années 1950 , Artcurial, Paris
  • 1985: 30 ans de rencontres, de recherches et de parti-pris, 1955-1985, Les Pionniers, Galerie Stadler, Paris
  • 1986: Serpan: opere degli anni 1947-1966 , Galleria Peccolo, Livorno
  • 1988: Homage to Michel Tapié , Stadler Gallery, Paris
  • 1990: Serpan 1922-1976 , Galerie Sander, Darmstadt
  • 1996: Dons et acquisitions 1981-1995 pour la collection de Beaulieu, Abbaye de Beaulieu, Ginals
  • 2000: Le mouvement Phases de 1952 à l'horizon 2001, Center Culturel Noroit, Arras
  • 2002: La nouvelle école de Paris 1941-1965 , Abbaye de Beaulieu, Ginals; Du Pop'Art à la Nouvelle Figuration Narrative , Galerie Le Rire Bleu, Figeac
  • 2004: Iaroslav Serpan, Banca Cesare Ponti, Milan
  • 2006: É critures mêlées, Ecritures magiques , Galerie Les Yeux Fertiles, Paris; Le Moi et son double, Rencontres d'Art 2006, Montauban
  • 2008: Serpan, quelques peintures (1947-1955) , Galerie l'Or du temps, Paris; La collection de Beaulieu, 1945-2007, Abbaye de Beaulieu, été 2008

Literature and Sources

  • Exhibition catalog for documenta II (1959) in Kassel: II.documenta'59. Art after 1945 ; Catalog: Volume 1: Painting; Volume 2: Sculpture; Volume 3: Graphic Art; Text tape; Kassel / Cologne 1959
  • Rolf Lauter , The open work of art or the power of the sign / L'opera aperta ovvero la forza del segno , in: Rolf Lauter, Jean Lauxerois, Serpan: opere degli anni 1947-1966 , Galleria Peccolo, Livorno 1986.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ In this context, a particularly striking work by Kandinsky is Composition IX , Collection Musée National d'Art Moderne , Paris [1]
  2. ^ André Breton, Marcel Duchamp: Le Surréalisme en 1947: exposition international du surréalisme, Galerie Maeght, Paris . 1947 ( online [accessed February 16, 2020]).
  3. ^ Result for 'Michel Tapie'. WorldCat.org, accessed February 16, 2020 .
  4. ^ II. Documenta - retrospective - documenta. Accessed February 16, 2020 .
  5. Jaroslav Serpan. WorldCat.org, accessed February 21, 2020 .
  6. bibliography. Retrieved February 17, 2020 .
  7. expositions. Retrieved February 17, 2020 .
  8. Jaroslav Serpan. Retrieved February 16, 2020 .
  9. Jaroslav Serpan | Albright-Knox. Accessed February 16, 2020 .
  10. Iaroslav Serpan | MoMA. Accessed February 16, 2020 .