Oil on canvas
The artist Eugène Leroy was born in Tourcoing in 1910 and lived and worked in Wasquehal close to Lille until his death in 2000. Situated at the crossroads between French and Flemish culture, between the northern and southern light, he pursued his work in this studio until the late 1970s, away from the Parisian art scene.
Capturing light, its intense mystery – somewhere between brightness and darkness – and its subtle variations crystallised in the sedimentation of the paint provided the main impetus for his paintings and was central to the way in which he produced them. They are the result of continuous adjustments, endless retouching and scraping so that the figurative motifs eventually dissolve into the thick fragmented mass of paint. Only the light itself remains, coming from the background of the canvas, conferring an extraordinary physical and sensual presence on the subject, so that actually perceiving it between disappearance and revelation requires a degree of effort .
For Leroy, portraits, nudes, landscapes or flowers constitute a necessary structure with which he experiments until it appears to dissolve into colour.
In 1988, a retrospective mounted by the City of Paris Museum of Modern Art paved the way for the acquisition of works by the artist, in particular Portrait, 1962 followed by canvases in the series Four Seasons, 1999 which are now on display for the first time.
In 2008, his sons, Eugène Jean Leroy and Jean-Jacques Leroy donated seven paintings to the museum dating from the period 1986 to 1994 which meant that a whole gallery could be devoted to the artist’s work.