This exhibition is being shown in rooms 49 to 52 on the first floor, and rooms 41 and 42 on the second floor of the Museum.
Born and educated in Montpellier, Vincent Bioulès leads critical thought on the foundations of painting itself. He was a founding member of the group of French artists who began the ‘Supports/Surfaces’ avant-garde movement at the beginning of the 1970s, before later returning to the figurative. Whilst learning his craft, he was a diligent practitioner of drawing. He has continued to devote himself tirelessly to the study and exercise of design throughout his career, thus forming a huge body of work which accompanies and highlights his paintings.
From his early childhood Bioulès was an enlightened amateur and frequent visitor of the Museum, finding material here at the Fabre that encouraged his artistic thought and development. Today, Bioulès is a well-known artist at the Fabre Museum, stemming from his visits as a youngster, an extensive collection of his work is currently displayed here. For this reason, he chose to donate the whole of his studio collection to the Fabre Museum, thus joining the long line of painters, from François-Xavier Fabre to Pierre Soulages, who have also contributed to this particularly special dimension of this institution through their own generosity. The collection of 741 drawings, 52 large format portraits and 515 sketch books is a unique donation, a selection of which the exhibition presents alongside the museum’s permanent collection of the artist’s paintings.
Bioulès produced drawings and sketches from real life images during his travels to places such as Japan, Tunisia, and Egypt, and at sites that held special intimate and personal meaning to him, such as Palavas, Saint Tropez, Languedoc, Laubert, and Aix-en-Provence. These drawings, however, are not strictly speaking “preliminary” images: if they do feed into his painted works, it is rare that they are a direct sketch of the subject shown later in the painting. Instead these “preliminary” images constitute more of a first understanding of the work to come. The sketches are therefore something beyond the large painted compositions, the places of Aix, and the landscape scenery of Céret or Marseille, and instead give us an opportunity to see another pathway in his work.