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Alexandre ISTRATI (1915 - 1991)

Alexandre Istrati was born in Dorohoi in Romania in 1915. He was naturalized French in 1965. Alexandre Istrati was interested in painting since an early age. He obtained a bachelor of law in 1937, and then he graduated from the Beaux-Arts of Bucharest. There he met Natalia Dumitresco, with whom he married in 1939. In 1947, the two of them moved together to France. Welcomed by Constantin Brancusi, the couple discovered abstraction, which immediately imposed on them. “All of what we had painted figuratively was swept with an incredible force, and it was an experience with no return” confessed Alexandre Istrati in an interview with Dominique Le Buhan in 1983, on the occasion of his exhibition at the gallery Artcur.

Alexandre Istrati was introduced to abstraction in 1949, while he exposed for the first time in Paris, at the gallery Breteau. He met Colette Allendy who presented him to several young abstracts painters, who wanted to confront the geometrical and rigorous abstraction of the first generation. These painters where Soulages, Gauthier, Poliakoff, Corneille, Schneider…

Convinced that abstraction could not be the fruit of theories, but rather an expression of life, Istrati paints “an art full of life” where his only restraint is that there doesn’t exist any. His palette does not hide any colors, and his works, lyrical or structured always abound whether it is by impetuous movements of his brush or by irregular masses of material.

Alexandre Istrati passed away in Paris in 1991. He shares a grave at the cemetery of Montparnasse with Natalia Dumitresco and Constantin Brancusi.

“Rarely a painting gives such a real impression of the burgeoning life of the material… The work comes alive by increasingly complex rhythms that settle at once. The colors strongly kneaded and built remain fluid and changeable…” 

Alexandre Istrati