Rosenberg & Co. presents Serge Charchoune: The Early Years, the first posthumous solo exhibition of the artist’s work in New York. The exhibition brings together 36 paintings from the artist’s foundational period, ranging from classically Cubist compositions with Dada influences to richly Purist canvases that were celebrated by Le Corbusier himself. Assembled together for the first time and organised chronologically in a museum-style exhibition, the collection of works provides a compelling case for Charchoune’s undeniable place in the history of modern art.
Serge Charchoune (1888–1975) was a Russian-born, French painter known for his mercurial style that spanned the breadth of European modernism. Throughout his career, Charchoune undulated between Cubism, abstraction, and representational painting, ultimately avoiding adherence to a single style. Born in 1888, he attended the Moscow Academy of Art before moving to Paris in 1912. There, he studied at the Académie de la Palette and fell into a milieu that included Marie Laurencin and Albert Gleizes. In the early 1920s, Charchoune aligned himself with the Dadaists and began exhibiting in both Paris and Berlin and contributing prolifically to Modernist publications. Over the following decades, his works developed the muted lyricism of form and color for which he is best remembered.
Focusing on the period between 1916 and 1930, Serge Charchoune: The Early Years highlights the artist’s stylistic experimentations as he navigated the various influences of the European avant-garde. By 1916, Charchoune had entered the art world in full force: he had studied at the academies in Paris, exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants, and fled to Barcelona with other artists at the start of World War I. In Spain, he began to develop his personal style of “Ornamental Cubism,” which combined facets of Analytic Cubism and the influence of Moorish patterns. He continued to develop and exhibit this style well into the 1920s, while still participating in Dada events and publications.
His style transitioned, however, after 1926, as he became interested in the Theosophy of Rudolf Steiner and was introduced to Amédée Ozenfant. Charchoune then produced several highly Purist compositions, as well as a series of works more architectural in nature. Facing economic struggles toward the end of the decade, his works from 1929–30 are smaller in scale, but arguably more inventive in technique—his Feuille de Temperature works employ a drip-painting style that predates abstract expressionism. The evolved and varied style of Charchoune’s early years is a testament to the devoted and investigative approach to artmaking he carried throughout the remainder of his career.
The exhibition is accompanied by an eponymous catalogue featuring essays by Deborah Zafman, Ph.D., and artist and curator Merlin James, an introduction by Marianne Rosenberg and a foreword by collector Eric Fitoussi.
Rosenberg & Co., on the upper east side of Manhattan, continues Marianne Rosenberg’s family’s distinguished tradition of exhibiting both Modern and contemporary art. The gallery presents an international roster of works by prominent Impressionist and Modern artists, and continues the legacy of working with contemporary artists. The gallery renews a focus on the highest standards of connoisseurship and expertise that have been cultivated over generations by the family.
SERGE CHARCHOUNE: THE EARLY YEARS
May 11th – July 11th, 2023