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Composition abstraite, 1955

gouache on paper, 50 x 65 cm

Composition is an abstract painting that is organized around four colors: yellow, red, cyan, black and the white of the canvas. Schneider chooses three primary colors and two opposite colors. He chooses simple colors, which do not overlap in the space of the canvas, but which are the result of no mixing. Despite this, the colors respond to each other, they influence each other in the eye of the viewer. They create harmony and new ideas. The strength of this painting lies in the cohabitation of these colors. In this work, the black brushstroke of the painter structures the composition. Where the flat areas of color form only delimited spaces, the black line is the receptacle of the painter's gesture. In this, Schneider is close to his friends Soulages and Hartung, with whom he exhibited from 1949 to 1952, forming a trio of painters with dark works. The three of them gradually participated in the development of lyrical abstraction

Composition is a painting of the act of painting, what has been called "action painting". Internationally, the great representative of this movement is Jackson Pollock. But Schneider's work shows us that this movement does not only include tachist works. Composition is a canvas that proposes to relive the moment of creation of the canvas through a line of color both deep and dynamic. The canvas makes us visualize different moments, it is not frozen, it dances before the eyes of the viewer. The diversity of lines and shapes, at once brittle, thick, fluid, fine, deep, sketched, are all events on the canvas. The painting does not show what is painted, but the moment when the painter's hand passed over the canvas: the work is a trace of the painter's passage. And for good reason: Schneider signs twice, once in the upper left corner and once in the lower right corner. He invites the viewer to look at the work in the direction he wishes, because there is no linear reading of the painting as it is classically the case. He invites us to feel the canvas, to explore it, to turn it over. Schneider's abstraction is completely detached from a symbolic representation of reality, he is interested in forms, in pure color. In short, Schneider tries to capture the moment of artistic experience.

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