Skip to main content






195 x 130 cm

Achillée is one of the pivotal works falling betweenMathieu’s two periods:


- The “Incarnation” period (1951-1963) duringwhich Mathieu’s very recognizable language – or calligraphy – establisheditself. Usually using a limited number of colours. An “aesthetic risk” is inplay (concept created by Mathieu relating to the speed of execution with nogoing back). This period is undoubtedly the most well represented in museumsand on the market because of Mathieu’s international success in the fifties.


-  The orthogonal period (1964-1973) duringwhich the forms are more rigorous and geometric compositions are used as asubstrate or support for the superimposed lyrical symbols. These works areoften more colourful than those in the past. Some canvases show networks oflines, as if in resonance with the development of megacities, industry, andelectronics. During this period Mathieu developed applied arts, which gave hima very high profile on the French cultural landscape.



Born in 1921

Georges Mathieu began painting in 1942. From1944-1945, Georges Mathieu moved towards gestural painting. He created and wasone of the principal thinkers behind Abstraction Lyrique, contrasting theapproach with that of proponents of American Action Painting. In 1950, heproduced his first Tachisme paintings and began giving his paintings titlesdrawn from French history.


Using tubes of colour directly without any priorsketching, he painted his canvases freely and thus took painting somewhere new.He revealed the creative process by painting in public. Described by Malraux asa "western calligrapher", in 1957 he encountered the Japanesetradition during a trip to Japan, where he met with a triumphalreception. 


He then travelled to Brazil, Argentina, Lebanon,Israel, Canada and almost every European country. From 1962 onwards, he becameaware that one of the major duties of artists is to cities and attempted totransform his "language" into a "style". He then creatednew shapes for furniture, jewellery, gave the Manufacture Nationale desGobelins tapestry cartoons, and designed plates for Sèvres. 


From 1985, a real change took place in his work inboth form and substance. It was the "cosmic turning point" thateliminated the central composition, the last vestige of classicism, in favourof a distribution of forms overrunning the entire canvas.  He died on 10June 2012 in Boulogne-Billancourt. His work is currently found in at leastseventy-nine museums and public collections.

Artwork of

Visit the Collection

Book a visit

The visit of the Collection is open to you! Come alone, in a group or on a school outing !

Reservation is mandatory in order to offer you a guided tour, at La Défense or by videoconference.