Jean Fautrier, one of France’s most important interwar and postwar artists, is perhaps best known for the Otages (Hostages), his series of semi-abstract paintings evoking partially obliterated or disﬁgured faces and bodies—victims of Nazi atrocities in France during World War II. This landmark book, the ﬁrst major English-language publication on Fautrier, discusses his signiﬁcance to the history of avant-garde aesthetics and modern art.
Essays examine the critical reception of Fautrier’s work in the United States; the philosophical and historical context of the Otages paintings; the signiﬁcance of Fautrier’s Originaux multiples, painted reproductions that question traditional notions of the unique art object; and the relation of Fautrier’s still lifes to both kitsch culture and the memento mori tradition. The book also includes new translations of critical essays on Fautrier by leading French literary ﬁgures, including André Malraux, Jean Paulhan, and Francis Ponge, as well as of a selection of letters, many never before published, from Fautrier to Malraux and Paulhan.
This important book accompanies an exhibition jointly organized by the Patrick and Beatrice Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University (September 19–December 29, 2002); the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University (January 28–March 29, 2003); and the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University (April 26–July 20, 2003).
Curtis L. Carter is director of the Haggerty Museum of Art and professor of aesthetics at Marquette University; Karen K. Butler is a scholar of postwar French art and co-curator of the exhibition.