Robert Lebel's room


Passeurs (2nd part)
Exhibition-Dossiers on Historians, Art critics and Enlightened Art Lovers

14 January - 31 August 2016

Museum - Niveau 5 - Centre Pompidou, Paris

From 26 May 2015, indicated by grey-coloured walls, the exhibition-dossiers found throughout the circuit intensify the experience, offering numerous windows onto the history of modern art. These modules in various formats are renewed every six months, and explore a common issue. The second sequence, from 14 January 2016, is devoted again to great “go-betweens” in the shape of art critics and historians, enlightened art lovers and leading thinkers of the time, whose keen eye, tastes and friendships with artists made a decisive contribution to the development of 20th century art. Through their specific points of view, these figures helped to promote and shed light on modern works. The tribute paid to them within a circuit focused on the major landmarks of modern art provides some powerful, singular moments in exploring the writing and construction of the history of art.

The Steins, Blaise Cendrars, Wilhelm Uhde, Oswald de Andrade, Wassily Kandinsky with his classes at the Bauhaus, André Breton, Aimé Césaire, Robert Lebel, Francis Ponge, Siegfried and Carola Giedion, Bernard Gheerbrant, Alain Jouffroy and Reyner Banham were all outstanding “go-betweens” driven by unfailing curiosity. Attentive to the new and bold in their choices, they were genuine discoverers. The Steins were the first to buy the work of Matisse and Picasso, while Uhde was the first to sponsor the haunted work of Séraphine de Senlis. Some of these often magnetic personalities with strong standpoints gathered iconic artists around them, like Breton, the father of Surrealism, and Lebel, at the initiative of many literary and artistic projects. Occasionally themselves creators – such as the poets and writers Cendrars, Andrade, Césaire, Ponge and Jouffroy –, they launched out into the depths of modernity alongside the artists of their times.

These exhibition-dossiers, the joint endeavour of all the museum’s teams, are further highlighted by the Cahiers du Musée national d’art moderne (which will be devoting a special issue to each half-yearly sequence), and by various conferences and special study days staged at the Centre Pompidou.

Robert Lebel, 1901-1986: A questing spirit
(Curators: Bernard Blistène, Julie Champion and Mathilde Bartier)
Room 24.