Their confrontation of black with other colors is almost simultaneous, around 1958. Soulages develops special tools to reveal color through black. Like Pollock, he works with his canvas laid flat on the floor of his studio.
This appeal for the black had come very early to Soulages, after his observation of some paintings in Lascaux caves. He was amazed by the use of black by prehistoric artists in their dark working place. Some figures are made in a black that has been partially scraped to reveal the color of the background while preserving the drawing.
The Peinture dated 21 Novembre 1959 reveals the blue layer under the sheared black. This oil on canvas 195 x 130 cm was sold for £ 4.3M including premium by Sotheby's on June 26, 2013. Like his friend Zao Wou-Ki, Soulages uses as title the date of the work.
On the last day before his fortieth birthday, Pierre Soulages synthesizes his inspiration by revealing a blood red under-layer which is one of the typical colors at Lascaux. Titled Peinture 186 x 143 cm 23 Décembre 1959, it is estimated $ 10M for sale by Christie's in New York on December 15, lot 22 C.
SOLD for $ 10.6M including premium