A “Soulages” that belonged to Léopold Sédar Senghor at auction


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A painting by French artist Pierre Soulages that once belonged to the poet and former president of Senegal Léopold Sédar Senghor will be on sale on Saturday in Caen in western France, according to organizer Caen Enchères. This abstract oil on canvas made up of large black lines reminiscent of a sort of asymmetrical totem pole is estimated “from 800,000 to one million euros”, specifies the auction house.

The work in question

The work entitled “Painting 81 x 60 cm, December 3, 1956” was acquired by Léopold Sédar Senghor shortly after its realization by “his friend” Pierre Soulages, reports Caen Enchères, quoted by AFP. It was in the Senghor’s house in Verson, near Caen, where the couple lived from the 1980s. The work is characteristic of the painter’s work in the 1950s, before he went to the outrenoir , this universe imagined by Soulages in 1979 when he turned completely black. In 2019, a Soulages reached 9.6 million euros (including costs) at auction in Paris.

The illustration of the admiration of the poet Senghor for the painter Soulages

The former Senegalese president was a fervent admirer of the now 101-year-old painter. “The first time I saw a painting by Pierre Soulages, it was a shock. I received a blow in the pit of my stomach which made me wobble, like the boxer who was touched and suddenly sank down ”, writes the first African who became an academician in News letters (1958). “Soulages’ paintings always remind me of Negro-African paintings, even sculptures,” adds the cantor of negritude, a movement for the defense of the cultural values ​​of the black world that he invented with the West Indian, Aimé Césaire. Besides this painting, Léopold Sédar Senghor also had “a small sketch” of the painter where he had written “Friendship Pierre Soulages”, according to Mr.e Solène Lainé, auctioneer.

To return to the work offered for auction this Saturday, its current owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, is a friend of the sister of the wife of the poet who died in 2001. Disappeared in 2019, Colette Senghor bequeathed the painting to her sister passed away in 2020.

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