February 1, 2019

In 1936, the French artist Claude Viallat was born in Nîmes. He mainly grew up in the nearby town of Aubais, where there has been a strong tradition of bulls for a long time. In the early 1960s he felt more and more attracted to abstract art, but also created a critical vision of the conventions of painting in general. From that moment on, his art consisted of just one repetitive shape on a random support (cloth, fabric, tarpaulin, recycled materials,…) without a framework, always very colourful works. In other words, he rejected not only the notion of a recognizable subject, but also the idea that a painting should be made on a stretched canvas. Supported by like-minded artists, they founded the group ‘Supports/Surfaces’ at the end of the 1960s. However, due to (political) differences of opinion between the members, this association already disintegrated in the early 1970s. However, Claude Viallat retains his vision and extends his oeuvre with the same mindset and repetitive character. The shape used by Viallat is often seen as a brand for bulls, given his close connection with these animals. As all bulls from the same stable are recognized by their equal brand, this is also the case with his artworks. He owned a whole collection of objects related to bulls, which formed the base for the ‘Musée des Cultures Taurines’ in Nîmes, that opened in 1986.