Maurice Rapin, rediscovered

Maurice Rapin, “L’Ecole du sourire”, (school of smile) 1977-78

Born in 1927 in his grandfather’s foundry in Paris, Maurice Rapin became a mathematician and a painter at the same time. He taught at a lycée in Versailles and came home to his studio nearby in Chaville. His artistic life was discreet and he always resented exhibiting his work. This is why seventeen years after his death, Sabine Bayasli, is partiuclarly proud to exhibit a collection of his works in her two galleries Detais of rue Notre Dame de Lorrette.

Sages en équilibre, 1976

Accustomed to listening to the blacksmith’s « music » with the strokes of the hammer at his grandfather’s forge, he became obsessed with rythm, repetitions and numbers. His paintings are either very figurative or totally surrealistic and he defines surrealism as « A marvelous world where imagination reigns ». He was noticed by Pierre Cardin in 1977 at Jean Claude Riedel’s gallery.

Souvenirs périlleux (perilous remembrances), 2000

This friend of René Magritte, has always used his own life and particularly his wife’s, Mirabelle Dors, a painter herself, to tell his story on canvas. He learned to draw in zoology classes while studying to become a professor of Natural sciences.

Trompe l’Oeil provoqué, Base 4, 1958

One of his first exhibitions was at l’Etoile Scellée, in 1953, where he showed next to Marcel Duchamp, Wilfredo Lam and Fred Deux. This surrealist gallery was founded by André Breton at 11 rue du Pré aux Clercs in the Latin quarter. And this is where he met his wife Mirabelle, 15 years older than him. He died just a year after she did, in 2000, having had a fusion love life : « Our intimacy had given us the impression of having been born from one another » he declared just after she died.

Double portrait, Mirabelle Dors, Maurice Rapin, 1979

The exhibition at Galerie Detais covers fifty years of Rapin’s career in two different spaces. The early works are especially interesting for the oil painting embossed on carton where figures and numbers have a strong role. His inks on paper are also quite spectacular. The portraits of the late 70’s are more surrealistic. And his signature floats in the most surprising parts of the canvas and becomes flatter and flatter as he ages…

His love for figures is well represented here in “Jeux sans paroles “games without words), 1975

But it is hard to synthetize his styles since there are many. Don’t hesitate to go to the trendiest area in Paris these days, the 9 th arrondissement, to discover this old artist with a young mind. (Galerie Detais, until November 18, 10 and 39 rue Notre Dame de Lorrette)

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