Program February – March 2022
Albert Féraud: The poetry of metal
January 24 - March 12, 2022
Extended Until March 26, 2022
Son of a Nobel Prize-winner in medicine and an opera singer, Albert Féraud arrived in Paris just before the Second World War to finish his secondary education. During the War he left for Nimes to pursue his art-school training at the École des Beaux-Arts in Montpellier and then Marseille, where he became friends with César, with whom he would later meet again at the Beaux-Arts in Paris, in Alfred Janniot’s studio.
In 1951, Féraud won the Grand Prix de Rome for sculpture. He spent three years in residence at the Villa Medici, pursuing his training in classical sculpture. On his return to France, Féraud found himself floundering in self-doubt, which gradually drove him to abandon the figurative style he had adopted from his student days. He developed a new sculptural vocabulary, experimenting with materials such as molten lead under the influence of Giacometti, who he knew and admired. In the late 1950s, his college friends César and Michel Guino started experimenting with iron and welding, inspired by the work of Óscar Domínguez and Pablo Gargallo. Féraud embarked on this path as well, joining the generation of ‘scrap merchants’ and ‘salvagers’ that went looking for material for their sculptures in the industrial dumps and scrap yards around Paris.
Starting in the 1960s, Féraud’s work increasingly moved towards abstraction. Féraud became passionate about casting lines, curves, volutes, and arabesques. The remarkable sculptural quality and density of his work allows for a sense of harmony and balance. He progressively abandoned salvaged materials and iron to concentrate on stainless steel, a material that offers all the qualities required for being cut, folded into shape and welded together. Steel enabled Féraud to give full and free reign of his poetic expression. The reflective surface of stainless steel distributes light, prompting Raoul-Jean Moulin to say, “Féraud’s metal sculpture is an explosion of form into light, an illumination of fire in the jungle of steel.” (Catalogue of the exhibition Albert Féraud: Selected works, 1956–1976, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Le Havre, 1976.) Steel, a new material in the 1960s, was used by many creators in diverse fields such as architecture, decorative arts, design and sculpture, and it also became the material that would come to define Féraud’s work.