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Alfred Courmes and Eduardo Arroyo, a welfare angel ! 11th Issue


This issue is the first of a series devoted to publications on Courmes’ works. This series will cover “portraits” of  friends, collectors and lovers of the work of Alfred Courmes.



Why an issue devoted to Arroyo?          




Eduardo Arroyo is a Spanish painter born in 1937. He is also a publisher, a book collector, a theatre stage designer …He fled the Franco regime and settled in Paris in 1958. He becomes in the years 64-65 one of the outstanding member of “Figuration narrative”, an artistic movement very implied in politics (see below). He discovers the painting of Courmes in the sixties.

Arroyo_Par.jpgWith his friends, Gilles Aillaud among others, they consider him as one of them, for his commitments and his determination not to follow current artistic trends. In 1983, Courmes presents at the Berggruen Gallery some drawings published in the Detective newspaper.

Eduardo Arroyo writes about this exhibition in the periodic issue of the magazine “Noir et Blanc” (see below). Antoine Mendiharat, then owner of a Gallery, will ask later to Arroyo to try to obtain the Legion of Honour to the benefit of Courmes by contacts with the Culture Minister Jack Lang. This decoration will be remitted to Courmes in the Gallery (see issue on the subject)



“Among painters” sandpaper stickers (117 x 94 cm)






Eduardo Arroyo initiates at the moment a vast project of exhibition in Madrid in 2015 in which he wishes to associate French painters including Alfred Courmes. (see below)


Forty years separates these two artists, nearly two generations! But Eduardo Arroyo has always followed with a great attention the work of Alfred Courmes


“Euro-Crisis”, sandpaper stickers (61 x 50 cm)


Eduardo Arroyo has accepted to write about Alfred Courmes and for this I wish to thank him heartfully.


eduardo_arroyo.jpg“ The longer the time spans by, the stronger the work of Alfred Courmes settles i the difficult panorama of Art. Today, the increasing interest for his work highlights this painter who has lived his artistic life almost in secrecy.

I do not think that he should be categorized as a forerunner of Pop Art; this would be in my opinion, rendering a very bad service to this painter that we admire since the very beginning.

On the contrary, I can say that with a number of members of the “Figuration Narrative”, we have followed him and admired. Very soon, we have considered him as one of our members due to his independence, his absolute desire not to submit in anyway to the then existing norms. We have admired him, together with some artists of the period between the two wars, because he claimed his taste for painting and denied the works of the so-called avant garde who reigned practically from the beginning of the 20th century up to now.


I did not forget the choc felt at the May Salon, fifty years ago, together with Gilles Aillaud, as we discovered together and at the same moment, this painting that a painter dared to name No, no, no, she will never tolerate that he flies an aeroplane”. From this moment, we became passionates of his work, and we have never been deceived.


Thinking back to that period, I wonder if I had not seen previously a painting by Courmes some time before: it was the one called “45% B.A.” Union of the good realistic painting”. 

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Obviously I followed with interest his rare public exhibitions at the Briance Gallery, at 23-25 Guénégaud street. Unable to afford an oil painting, I had to satisfy myself by buying at different intervals three exceptional lavis that I have lost along the time, as it arrives with things that you cherish above anything.

To heal that sort of pain, for those who like myself still believe at some notions of independence and do not accept to be manipulated by fashions,  we know very well that, like a paradox, when a painter of the quality of Alfred Courmes dies, a slow revival happens irrepressively around his work”


Eduardo Arroyo, October 2013.



 "Alfred Courmes", 1989, Eduardo Arroyo ©




The exhibition of drawings of Courmes at the Berggruen Gallery (1988)


eduardo_arroyo.jpg“ The Art Director of the periodical “Detective” should be blessed to have asked Courmes to make for us a revival of  “La nuit folle chez les Indiens” or “The phantom of Manaus Opera” through his drawings, both adventures experienced by Birgit, the white skin prisoner, and Hans, the hero pinpointed for sacrifice. This series of drawings, saved from hell, liberated from this disgustful context, brought to light now, prove the genius and commitment of Alfred Courmes” … Extract of a writing of Eduardo Arroyo for the periodical “Noir et Blanc”, Paris october 1987 on the occasion of the exhibition of drawings of Courmes published in Detective, at the Berggruen Gallery (see the complete french version of this publication)



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“The evil of Amazonia”, 1964.

The look for the white God”, 1964                   


A special issue will be devoted to all these drawings.  


The planned exhibition at Casa Del Lector in Madrid, September 2015:

The exhibition “La Oficina de San Geronimo” will take place from September 20th  2015 to July31st, 2016 at Casa Del Lector, Matadoro de Madrid. This cultural center situated in the vast surroundings of the slaughterhouse of the Spanish Capital extends over  8000 m2. It is part of a foundation created by the Spanish editor German Sanchez Ruiperez. Casa del Lector is headed by César Antonio Molina, writer and former Minister.

The exhibition will be organized around seven chapters:

 1 San Geronimo, French and Spanish museums lending portraits of the monk in the desert.

2 A passion in the desert. The Balzac museum participates for this part

3 Stylite et Orateurs : black and white photographs and a film

4 Three contemporary Spanish painters : Sergio Sanz, Carlos Garcia-Alix, Rafael Cidoncha.

5 Four French painters: Alfred Courmes, Clovis Trouille, Jules Lefranc, Pierre Roy.

6 Film screening "Le portrait de Dorian Gray" to Albert Lewin with George Sanders, black and white, 1945

7 Books and various calligraphies.  



An issue will be devoted to Clovis Trouille


To know more :


 The life of Eduardo Arroyo by Fabienne Di Rocco, in charge of the Madrid exhibition


Born in Madrid in 1937, he flees the Spain of Franco, and settles in Paris in 1958. Eduardo Arroyo shows part of his work in 1964 and 1965 in exhibitions devoted to new figurative art organized by Gérald Gassiot-Talabot (Day to day mythologies, figurative expressions in contemporary art) and within a short period of time becomes, in France, one of the proeminent actor of the figurative avant-garde with heavy political content. (Pont d’Arcole (1967); Sama de Langreo (Asturias) September 1963, Il minatore Silvano Zapico viene arrestato della polizia (1968).

His work shows periods of political involvement, in any case very critical, and periods of quiet life, with some sort of humour. The place of the painter in Society and of the exiled were themes generating art pieces of great narrative richness.



                                                      “Deux Mille”, 1987, lithography


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The return of Spain to democracy took off some of Arroyo’s accusing and contesting reactions through his paintings, and marked an evolution in his beliefs as to where should the painter role should lead.


He visits and discovers Spain again, as a lover fond of Spanish “clichés”: for instance in his Madrid-Paris-Madrid, he shows the panorama of a bull fight arena in red and yellow colours

"Waldorf Astoria", 2000, lithography (50 x 64 cm)



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Then comes Carmen Amaya, famous flamenco dancer in the forties, present and at the same time invisible in the Astoria. Overdose of round coloured peas, of high style elegance, passionate movements in the Waldorf series.


If the themes of Arroyo’work have changed, his way of working has remained the same, based on sticking “ It is in fact this aspect of serial themes, fragmented, bits by bits, these differences in style, things mixed up … all these incoherent datas, that make the coherence of my work.   


"Waldorf Astoria", 1995, technique mixte sur papier (99 x 70 cm)


This image magician  has created a vocabulary and a grammar for his expressions in painting, very personal, articulated in various series where irony, tragedy and comedy are present together.

You will find other informations on the website of the Louis Carré et Cie.




                          The last book of Eduardo Arroyo,

                          “Minutes d’un testament”

                           Published by Grasset in 2010




The “Figuration narrative”

This notion sums up a tendency in Art where expression intends to give paintings a political purpose and a critical view towards consumer society. This tendency, born in 1965 disappeared around 1972. Politically orientated left or extreme left, it opposes American pop art judged too classical, not implied in political struggles and not critical enough towards the consumer society.

Many artistes felt involved in this art tendency: Eduardo Arroyo, Gilles Aillaud, Bernard Raneillac, Peter Saul, Valerio Adami, Gérard Fromanger, Henri Cueco, Erro …


GeorgesPompidou Center document.(French)

French text issued by François Mitterand cultural Center in Poitiers titled “La Figuration Narrative”





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