MUba Fine Arts Museum Presents Eugene Leroy Centenary Exhibition

Tourcoing Fine Arts Museum celebrates the 100th birthday of Eugène Leroy by presenting 150 masterpieces from public and private collections from around the world. Open through 31 March 2011.

Thanks to the exceptional donation made by Eugène-Jean et Jean-Jacques Leroy, the MUba Fine Arts Museum Eugène Leroy, Tourcoing bears witness to the importance of the painter today, both through the work and the personality of Eugène Leroy. The MUba will now become the global reference point for the painter.

Eugène Leroy (1910-2000), with his singular identification to painting, expressed in a masterful manner the need to paint. The simplicity and natural style with which he pursued his research, the complexity and sheer scope of the pictoral range he offers spectators of his works, the generosity with which he treats the question of matter, which he confronts with his eternal search for absolute light and tone, all add up to make Eugène Leroy a unique painter. The critical preoccupation of abstraction within figures makes the substance of his work. The diversity of his explorations for over seventy years shows a profound knowledge of the founding history of painting and his struggle to bring the experience of the painter and spectator into the present day.

Eugène Leroy. Exposition du Centenaire is not a retrospective in the sense of the chronology of the works. The curators have preferred rather to show the richness of the Eugène Leroy body of work in general, featuring all periods, themes and formats. All of these elements feature the fundamental aspects within the generation of his pictoral work, its aesthetics and ethics.

The exhibition begins with a series of large paintings, large due to their size and also their impact, displaying the amplitude of this artist who is a reference in major painting galleries and whose work reflects “the art of museums” as described by Cézanne. Following the confrontation with these large paintings, visitors will discover parts of the exhibition where smaller formats entail looking closer to appreciate fully the details and materials, the brushstrokes and light. According to this vision, the totality of the exhibition spaces of the MUba Eugène Leroy, Tourcoing, will be orchestrated with works to present different eras, formats and themes, including atypical works which serve as transitions along the journey of a long career whose ethic is as exceptional as it is authentic.

The exhibition brings together almost one hundred and fifty exemplary works, loaned from major public and private collections across the world, covering the entire chronological, thematic and stylistic spectrum of the artist. The exhibition intertwines three parallel stories: the great gallery of the museum, the laboratory dedicated to Leroy’s work and the chronology of the creative process.

Image: Eugène Leroy, “Annemie,” 1982-1986. Collection FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais. © Eugène-Jean and Jean-Jacques Leroy

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