Katya Kazakina focuses on Simon Hantai, the Surrealist turned Abstract Expressionist turned art market refugee, who is getting a New York show after many years flying under the radar here in the US. In France, it’s another story:
“His withdrawal was a protest,” said Molly Warnock, an art historian and the author of a book on Hantai to be published in France. “He felt that the art market was getting out of control.”
Now two commercial galleries — Paul Kasmin in New York and Jean Fournier in Paris — are mounting exhibitions of Hantai’s paintings, both curated by Warnock. In New York, Hantai is largely unknown, but in France, he is considered a major postwar artist.
The Paul Kasmin exhibition includes 11 paintings from the 1960s to the 1990s. Most were done by folding and tying large canvases into specific configurations, applying paint and then unfolding the fabric to reveal repeated geometric and biomorphic shapes.