PARIS—An exhibit of oil paintings by French painter Marc Desgrandchamps, which opened at the Galerie Zürcher in Paris on May 28 (through July 13), had already sold out of the more than 20 paintings on display before the opening night reception was held.
Born in 1960 and raised in Lyon, the artist studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, and had his first important group show at the Museum of Modern Art, Paris, in 1988, alongside French painters Vincent Corpet and Pierre Moignard.
The demand for Desgrandchamps’ work has been steadily increasing over the past several years; his pictures have been acquired by collections at the Georges Pompidou Centre and the French national museums in Saint-Étienne, Strasbourg and Les Sables-d’Olonne, as well as by numerous private collectors, mainly English, French, German and American.
“The market has never been stronger,” says Bernard Zürcher, the artist’s Paris dealer since 1995. Prices start at €1,200/2,500 for small-format works, with larger-format paintings going from €12,000/15,000 and upward; diptych and triptychs start at €30,000.
Desgrandchamps’ paintings, gouaches and prints are inspired by photographs, magazine pictures and scenes from films. Often depicting boats, fields and beach scenes, they are painted in a fluid manner with layers of dripping, transparent color.
Zürcher believes that Desgrandchamps’ success results from his persistence in creating something new, something original, with
the simplest, most traditional means. Desgrandchamps received considerable media attention in 2004, when his work was the subject of solo shows in several major French museums—the Abbaye Sainte-Croix des Sables d’Olonne, the Chapelle Saint-Jacques de Saint-Gaudens, and the museums of modern and contemporary art in Strasbourg and in Lyon (for which a catalogue was issued by the publisher Flammarion).
Desgrandchamps’ work was included recently in a group show at Germany’s Saarland Museum. Through July, his images also can be seen in a solo show at the Kunstmuseum, Bonn; in a group show in China (through July 24); and in a group show at his Geneva gallery, Charlotte Moser. He is one of just a few French painters invited to organize a solo show at the Pompidou Centre, Paris, in December.
Henri Loyrette, director of the Louvre, recalls that early on he was “struck by the force” of Desgrandchamps’ figurative paintings. Today, he adds, “I also appreciate the play of transparency, the overlapping layers, the drips.”