Joseph Lacasse: Abstraction Explored

To celebrate its 40th anniversary Whitford Fine Art will host a large solo exhibition on School of Paris artist Joseph LACASSE during Wed 15 May - Fri 28 June 2013, with a preview on Tue 14 May. The celebration also announces Whitford's representation of the Estate of the Artist, who enjoyed a career that spanned some sixty-five years, during which he experimented with Figuration and Abstraction alike. 

Lacasse has not had a show in London since the Drian Galleries showed him during the late 1950s and early 1960s. 

Born in 1894 into the desolation of a working-class family in Tournai, Belgium, Lacasse's artistic vocation was first outlined at the local stone quarries where he worked as a young teenager. During the early 1910s, Lacasse took small but roughly cut stones home to draw. These so-called 'Cailloux' are an extraordinary testimony to his vision, for starting from figuration he unwittingly created abstract works.

Following years of travelling through Italy, Spain and France, Lacasse finally settled in Paris in 1925, where his alliance with Robert Delaunay is documented. Lacasse settled in the studios at l'Impasse Ronsin, with Constantin Brancusi as his neighbour and good friend. 

Around 1933 Lacasse founded Galerie l'Equipe, focus of a movement comprising also literature and drama, and an open platform to all young artists seeking recognition. Initially, for lack of finances l'Equipe met at Lacasse's studio. During 1937, l'Equipe opened its doors on the Boulevard Montparnasse where Lacasse himself welcomed the visitors. 

At that time Lacasse was making small abstract sketches. Amongst the frequent visitors of l'Equipe during 1937 was the then figurative painter Serge Poliakoff, who borrowed much from Lacasse's abstract sketches, to deliver his first abstract painting at the gallery in 1938.

The choice of joining General de Gaulle's Resistance during the Second World War, required Lacasse to move to England. During his five-year absence from Paris the art world had moved on with Poliakoff overshadowing the genius and originality of Lacasse. When during early 1950s Tachisme was hailed as the way forward, many had forgotten that Lacasse made his first Tachist paintings as early as 1936. 

Yet, the work of Lacasse never ceased to excite connoisseurs of avant-garde Abstract art and to this date, his work is included in the following institutions: Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris; Musée national d'art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; Musée de Tournai, Tournai; Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv; Eilat Museum, Eilat; Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. 

Lacasse's abstract paintings represent the light he feels inside, the essence of humanity, the energy of the Ultimate Creator. Their colours and movement are inspiring, and their immediacy illustrate Lacasse's power as a painter and thinker. Thus Whitford Fine Art is delighted to reintroduce the abstract paintings of Lacasse to the British public.