Abdelkader Guermaz (Algeria 1919 - Paris 1996)
Benezit Dictionary of Artists. Abdelkader Guermaz grew up in the town of Oran and attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts of this city from 1938 to 1940 and showed his works at the Galerie Colline throughout the ‘40s and the ‘50s. Until 1955, Guermaz worked in the figurative style of the ‘Peintres de la Réalité Poétique’, a French art movement. His early works were landscapes and still-lifes.
After 1955, he painted increasingly abstract works, and was drawn to the avant-garde of artists in Paris, where he moved in 1961. In the 1970s, Guermaz began painting works with modulated neutral fields, punctuated by touches of colour and subtle grid-like patterns, conceived as ‘abstract landscapes’. Abdelkader Guermaz is considered as one of the founders of modern art in Algeria.
(Benezit Dictionary of Artists, Oxford Art Online)
RE:ORIENT, Barjeel Art Foundation, 2013.
Abstract shapes and subdued colour schemes dominate the canvases of Abdelkader Guermaz, a major player in Algeria’s modern art movement. Guermaz, who graduated from l’Ecole des Beaux-arts of the city of Oran in 1940, emigrated to Paris in 1961. The artist, who became associated with the School of Paris, befriended French artists such as Bissière, Manessier, Bazaine. Subtlety and minimalism characterise Guermaz’s artistic approach, giving form to his spiritual meditations and inspiring French art critic Pierre Rey to call him the painter of silence and light.
Although his most-disciplined works consist of textured white monochrome paintings, Guermaz began incorporating discernible shapes and softened segments of colour after 1970. His careful compositions emerge as weightless and timeless landscapes evoking both interior and exterior spaces. Attaining critical success in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the artist was largely forgotten upon the 1981 closure of gallery Entremonde that represented him. Until his death in 1996, Guermaz continued to produce work probing the metaphysical relationship between visible world and the unseen. His artwork, featured in international museum collections, has been rediscovered in posthumous shows and texts.
(Catalogue of the exhibition RE:ORIENT, March-November 2013, Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE).
Works in Public Collections:
Musée National des Beaux-Arts, Alger
Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris
Fonds Municipal d’Art Contemporain, Paris
Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris
Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE
Pierre Rey, Guermaz, peintre du silence et de la lumière, Paris, 2009.
Guermaz. Texts by Pierre Rey, Michel-Georges Bernard, Roger Dadoun, Le livre d’art, Paris, 2009.