Xavier Krebs

France 1923 - 2013

Xavier Krebs
(1923, Quimperlé - 2013, Montauban)

Xavier Krebs, born in 1923 in Quimperlé, took part in the Second World War at the age of 18. Forced to remain in the army, he signs up for a "voluntary" enlistment as the war in Europe draws to a close. For example, he follows the Rhine-Danube army led by De Latte and takes part in the liberation of the concentration camps. When he returns to Poulguin in July 1946, he is showered with honors, but he still owes a few years to the army. Just five months after returning, he is sent to Indochina. He finally returns in 1949, officially demobilized due to dysentery (after refusing to destroy a village with napalm).
Deeply changed by his violent experiences, while he had built up an initial bond with Asia. Back in Brittany, he settled in Gauguin's former workshop in Pont-Aven. But it is rather the innovative use of ceramics, in Kéraluc's studio, that led him to a powerful pictorial abstraction. His meeting with René Duvillier and Jean Degottex, painters of lyrical abstraction, will be decisive in his pictorial journey.

In 1959 he left Quimper for Valmondois and settled in the former workshop of Honoré Daumier, before moving into the famous Maison du Pendu in 1962.

His work consists of stylistic times, nourished by his encounters and travels. From the deep blacks of Soleils des eaux (1954-1967) to the Zen geometry of Seuils (1966-1975), Xavier Krebs developed his path of abstraction thinking of far Eastern civilizations. With Shogun (1975-1978) he explored color variations by superimposing large, flat shades. Sometimes opened towards an estuary, closed or opened on a gorge, Les Trois Gorges (2000-2010) evokes the Cahors, where he stayed. It also pays tribute to the construction of the Three Gorges Dam in China. Inspired by Indian or North African warm colors, his latest series Triangles (2010-2013) reveals repeated horizontal compositions with bright tones and in which the viewer is captured by a small triangle in perspective.

From ceramics to painting, Krebs has never stopped to question signs, thresholds or prints. A work full of influences, memories and superpositions, celebrated by several retrospectives at the Ingres Museum in Montauban or at the Henri-Martin Museum in Cahors, and by personal exhibitions around the world.

Xavier Krebs built his work as closely as possible to the writings of the poet, physician, archaeologist, sinologist Victor Segalen, who died under mysterious circumstances in the forest of Huelgoat. He wanted to pay tribute to him by dedicating the 2009 retrospective at the École des Filles.

Exhibitions selected

Solo exhibitions

2013 - Les Seuils du rêve, Cahors Henri Martin Museum, Cahors
2007 - Fifty years of painting, Contemporary Art Center of Beaulieu Abbey, Ginals
1996 - Retrospective, Ingres Museum, Montauban
1975 - Museum of Fine Arts, Les Sables-d'Olonnes
1978 /1985/1989/1991 - Galerie Le Scribe, Montauban
1972 - Galerie Meyer, Lausanne
1964-69 - Galerie de Verneuil, Paris
1961/1971 - Galerie de Beaune, Paris
1952 - Foyer Montparnasse, Paris
1949 -50/1952 - Saluden Gallery , Quimper

Group shows

2017 - Elsewhere is here

?2016 - The fire catcher , School for girls, Huelgoat

2014 - Exote - Aesthetics of Diversity , School for Girls, Huelgoat
2009 - Homage to Victor Segalen, Retrospective , School for Girls, Huelgoat
2002 - De Nieuwe School van Parijs 1941-65 , Center for Contemporary Art of the Abbey of Beaulieu, Ginals
1995 - 25th anniversary of the Center for Contemporary Art, Center for Contemporary Art of the Abbey of Beaulieu, Ginals 1995
- The near and distant, Ingres Museum, Montauban
1986 - Acquired and perspectives, Beaulieu Abbey Contemporary Art Center, Ginals
1984 - The Non-figuratives of the South around Atlan, Ingres Museum, Montauban
1980-81 - Around a collection, 1945-1980, Center for Contemporary Art of Beaulieu Abbey, Ginals
1979 - Printing a territory, Center for Contemporary Art of Beaulieu Abbey, Ginals
1971 - Galerie Pilote Saint-Germain des Prés, Paris
1966 - French Cultural Center, Istanbul
1965 - New Vision Center, London
1964 - Nero and Bianco Gallery, Rome
1963 - Suzanne De Coninck presents 30 painters and sculptors of the School of Paris, Museum of Fine Arts, Nantes
1962 - Galerie de Beaune, Paris
1954 - Galerie Suillerot, Paris

Salons and art fairs

Salon d'Automne, 1950
Salon of Sacred Art, Paris, 1964
Salon Réalités Nouvelles, 1987, 1992
Art Paris, 2014


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_ Thresholds of Dream, (catalog of the Xavier Krebs exhibition), Musée de Cahors Henri Martin, 2013