The French president will preside over the ceremony, which is due to begin at 3:00 p.m. in the presence of his wife Brigitte Macron, members of the government and the family of the artist known worldwide for his paintings in infinite shades of black.
The ceremony will be open to the public. Before Pierre Soulages, the square courtyard of the Louvre had hosted the national tributes of Georges Braque in 1963, of Le Corbusier in 1965 as well as that of André Malraux in 1976, specifies the Elysée.
Born on December 24, 1919 in Rodez in an artisan environment that fed his imagination, the painter died on October 26 of heart failure.
“Pierre Soulages had known how to reinvent black, by bringing light to it. Beyond black, his works are vivid metaphors from which each of us draws hope”, reacted Emmanuel Macron to his death.
Fascinated by prehistory from an early age, the artist had worked a great deal with walnut stain before continuing with his large black flat areas of oil paint, which he scraped, scratched and modeled almost in the thickness of the painting, bringing out shades of red, blue and unexpected transparencies.
He had fallen into what he called “outrenoir” in 1979, when he was painting on a work entirely covered in thick black, streaked by chance.
“I like the authority of black, its gravity, its obviousness, its radicality (…) Black has unsuspected possibilities”, said the artist. He said he was trying to “bring out the light”.
For more than 75 years, he tirelessly traced his path, attracting the recognition of cultural institutions and the art market which made him one of the most highly rated French artists during his lifetime. One of his 1961 paintings sold for $20.2 million in New York in November 2021.
He had already had the honor of a tribute to the Louvre in 2019, at the dawn of his 100th birthday. Until then, only Picasso and Chagall had had this privilege during their lifetime.