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Penser la peinture: Simon Hantaï

In my book Penser la peinture: Simon Hantaï (Gallimard, 2012), I explore the work of a Hungarian-born French painter who is just beginning to be recognized as one of the most important figures in later 20th-century painting—a reputation based principally on the abstract, often large-format canvases he made between 1960 and 1982 in the medium he called pliage, or “folding.” I set the historical genesis and development of that body of work in a remarkably rich context conditioned by the Surrealist discourse of “psychic automatism,” the French philosophical reception of G.W.F. Hegel, and the first stirrings of interest in the work of Jackson Pollock.