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Simon Hantaï Gone

from The New York Times

Simon Hantaï, Painter of Silences, Dies at 85

Simon Hantaï, a highly regarded, famously reclusive French painter whose work explored ideas of absence and silence — and who took those ideas so seriously that he disappeared completely from view for 15 very productive years — died on Sept. 11 at his home in Paris. He was 85.

hantai.pngThe death was confirmed by a friend, Paul Rodgers, owner of the Paul Rodgers/9W Gallery in Manhattan. According to the French newspaper Le Figaro, Mr. Hantaï died in his sleep.

Born in Hungary, Mr. Hantaï was a major figure in European art from the 1950s onward. He was known in particular for abstract, often huge canvases that crackled with bold, saturated color punctuated by unfilled areas of pure white. Their singular appearance resulted from a method of folding and tying the canvas before applying paint, a process known as pliage, which Mr. Hantaï developed in the early 1960s.

He was also known for his long, self-imposed retreat from the public arena in the 1980s and ’90s. In 1999, the magazine Art in America described this absence as stemming from “a streak of ethical obstinacy virtually unparalleled in contemporary art.”

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Posted on October 12, 2008 by Editor

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