Pierre Alechinsky (Brussels, 1927) L'or du rien, 1967-1968 Acrylic on paper mounted on canvas, with an Indian ink predella 210 x 295 cm Signed lower left Provenance: Stephane Janssen, Beverly Hills; Christie's, London, Dec 1996; private collection, Belgium; Sotheby's, Paris, May 2011; Galerie Lelong, Paris Literature: Bruges, Stadshallen, Triennale voor Plastiche Kunsten in Belgie, 1968, n° 6; Charleroi, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Prix de la critique, 1968-1969, n° 29; Brême, Ausstellung Kunsthalle Bremen, Pierre Alechinsky, Gemälde, 1958-1968, 1969; catalogue, p.48, n° 39, ill.; Bruxelles, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Pierre Alechinsky, 1969, catalogue, n° 50; itinérante : Humlebaek, Louisiana Museum; Düsseldorf, Kunstverein; catalogue, n° 47, ill. in colour; Antwerpen, ICC - Internationaal Cultureel Centrum, Prijs van de Kritiek, 1969-1970; Cagnes-sur-Mer, IIème Festival International de la Peinture, 1970; catalogue, n° 11, prix du Lauréat 1970, Deuxième Palette d'Or; Venise, Biennale Internazionale d'Arte di Venezia, Pavillon Belge, 1972; catalogue, Alechinsky : XXXVIe Biennale de Venise, Pavillon belge, p. 14, n° 6, ill. in colour; Darmstadt, Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt, Pierre Alechinsky, 1974; catalogue, p. 39, n° 12, ill. in colour; Rotterdam, Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Alechinsky 1965-1974, 1974-1975; itinérante : Paris, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 1975; Zurich, Kunsthalle, 1975; catalogue, p. 12, n° 12, ill. in colour; Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art, International Series, Alechinsky, Paintings and writings, 1977-78; itinérante : Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, 1978; catalogue, n° 60; Scottsdale, Scottsdale Center for the Arts, A Museum in the Making: Alechinsky and Alquin; from the Janssen Collection of Fine Art, 1996; catalogue, p. 12, ill. in colour
The work 'L'or du Rien' belongs to the group of works Pierre Alechinsky made as a sequel to the work 'Central Park'. These works mark a turning point in Alechinsky's oeuvre because there he switched from oil paint on canvas to acrylic paint on paper that he then glued onto a canvas. In the mid-1960s, he was introduced to this fast and flexible acrylic painting technique, a technique that allowed him to forge his ‘graffiti’ of lines (which would later also influence Keith Haring), signs, circles, plants and fabulous animals into a whole. These are the first works to feature ‘margin notes’, a series of border decorations on the four sides of the central image that are meant to complement the meaning of the painting, and which are drawn in extreme detail in this work.
This work was also shown at the 1972 Venice Biennale, where Christian Dotremont and Pierre Alechinsky represented our country. Most of the paintings shown then are today owned by museums and internationally renowned collections. The great (Cobra) art collector Stéphane Janssen was the first owner of this work, after which he sold it at Christie's in 1996 for over €300 000 to a Brussels collector at the time. It is therefore unique for a work of this importance by Pierre Alechinsky to appear on the art market.