Claude Garache

An artist’s artist, Garache was first recommended to Aimé Maeght, the most important art-dealer in post-war France, by two of Maeght’s most important artists, Joan Miró and Marc Chagall. Although Garache’s subject is exclusively the female body, the Surrealist Raoul Ubac and the Post-War School of Paris abstract-artist Pierre Courtin have written prefaces to Garache’s exhibition catalogues. An art historian’s artist, Garache has been the subject of analyses by Marc Fumaroli (Italian Renaissance art), Jacques Thuillier (books on Georges de la Tour and Nicolas Poussin), and Dora Vallier (Georges Braques). A poet’s artist, Garache has frequently collaborated with and/or been the subject of essays or poetry by the poets Yves Bonnefoy, Jean Frémon, Edmund Jabès, Philippe Jacottet, Claude Simon, and Alain Veinstein. Garache appeals as well to intellectual historians like Georges Duby (medieval culture) and Jean Starobinski (Montaigne, France in the Eighteenth Century and the French Revolution) and to literary critics like Richard Stamelman (contemporary poetry, Yves Bonnefoy), Judith Miller (contemporary avant-garde and feminist French theater), and Peter Schofer (Nineteenth-Century French Poetry). Living and working in Paris, Claude Garache (b. 1929) has achieved that balance of surprise and inevitability (the blending of an individual talent and a viable tradition) that marks the works of Degas and Matisse, Derain and Giacometti. Looking at Garache’s oeuvre, we recognize works that immediately proclaim themselves as "classic," yet which are more disturbing than we expect classic art to be. Rather than confronting the source of this disturbance, it is tempting to concentrate instead on Garache’s technical virtuosity. As a painter, Garache is a perfectionist, layering on wash after wash of color, building up depth and intensity, establishing both a ground and an almost 3-dimensional shape looming out of that ground. Garache is an established master of the aquatint, whose graphics are regularly included in the Bibliothèque Nationale’s five-year surveys of the most important work in prints and were similarly included in shows at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Fifth European Print Bienniale, and have been featured in one-person shows at museums and galleries in the U.S., Belgium, England, France, Germany, and Spain. He is also a superb lithographer, whose sense of color and texture produces fascinating and compelling studies of the human figure, his only subject.

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