Press Release
3 June 2004
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Michael Werner Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of large watercolors by Eugène Leroy (1910-2000).

The large watercolors were begun in 1980 during a period of intense personal struggle for the artist. Following the sudden death of his wife, Eugène Leroy found he was unable to return to the studio. Eventually he found his way back to the creative act through the process of drawing, and would work hour upon hour in his kitchen on the large works assembled here. Yet, the drawings should not be seen only as meditations on death or on the struggle to overcome grief; for they are filled with luminosity and life, expressed through the subject of Eugène Leroy's life-long obsession, the classical subject of the nude.

The female form was Eugène Leroy's constant source of inspiration and challenge. He always set to work with a live model before him, though his aim was never to merely depict figures in a realistic manner. The artist's true concern lay in reconciling the physical matter of pigment with the potential of ephemeral light. Whereas the figures in Eugène Leroy's paintings appear to emerge through thick and luminous layers of paint, the works on paper emit a kind of airy, shimmering light. The impact of the gesture is also more present in these works. Outlines blur and blend with one another, the layered colors and drawn lines merging to create an effect not unlike that found in the oil paintings'though without the dense and lush surfaces so common in the oils.

Born in Tourcoing in northern France, Eugène Leroy is remembered as one of the most prominent French artists of the last century. The works of Eugène Leroy are represented in major public and private collections in the United States and Europe, and have been featured in exhibitions at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, the Power Plant, Toronto, Stedlijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Gent, the Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris, Documenta IX, Kassel, and at the Musée d'art moderne et d'art contemporain, Nice.

The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue published in cooperation with Galerie de France, Paris, and featuring texts by Charles Juliet and Eugène Leroy.

Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10am until 6pm.

For more information please contact the gallery at the number below or by email at