New School of Paris: 1950s – Present

10 May - 09 June 2024

Opera Gallery Singapore is delighted to present 'New School of Paris: 1950s — Present', an exhibition showcasing the works of six leading figures who revolutionised the contemporary art scene: Karel Appel, Jean Dubuffet, Philippe Hiquily, Georges Mathieu, Pierre Soulages and Zao Wou-ki. These artists’ contributions to Modern art were significant as they championed a new approach to post-war aesthetics. 


The term “School of Paris” was used to refer to notable foreign-born artists who had migrated to Paris before the Second World War. In the early 20th century, Paris attracted artists from all over the world as it became the centre of the Western art scene. This momentum led to major innovations in modern art. Artists of the New School of Paris used a blend of techniques from Fauvism, Cubism and Expressionism.  


'New School of Paris: 1950s — Present' delves into the contributions of each artist. Dubuffet replaced traditional standards of beauty with a more humanistic version of art, using it as a medium for social criticism. Appel was one of the founders of the CoBrA movement. He used bright colours which have become his signature, as well as his distinct use of mixed materials. Hiquily strayed from the object to undertake a reflection on form, leading him to simplify the human figure. He primarily worked with iron, steel and brass, seeking to give life to his work. Soulages was one of the pioneers of post-war abstract painting. He was referred to as the painter of “black and light” because he was able to turn black into a luminous colour. Wou-Ki developed a striking signature style defined by strong contrasts in colour and powerful linework. He successfully combined gestural abstraction with traditional Chinese landscape. His work dances between distinct fluidity and graceful luminosity. 


This exhibition showcases the depths of this artistic movement and continually questions how art became a vehicle for social and political commentary. Despite the dire circumstances of a Post-War society that permeated through Europe, the artists from the New School of Paris provided revitalisation to a city that was both morally and physically ruined. This carefully curated exhibition seeks to take us back to this period in history.

Artworks: Philippe Hiquily, Girouette Printemps, 2013; Georges Mathieu, Départ Alarmé III, 1987