City of Zug, 24.11.2022

Art between figuration and abstraction

The first artist to be exhibited by Arturo Cuéllar in his new gallery on the Landsgemeindeplatz in Zug is a French painter.

The cultural offer in the city of Zug has been expanded. Last week, the Zug art dealer Arturo Cuéllar and his wife Corinne took the plunge and opened an art gallery on Landsgemeindeplatz. "We will not only cultivate modern art, but also old masters and other internationally renowned artists. Two to three exhibitions per year are planned," says the gallery owner.

Beaming with joy, Arturo Cuéllar welcomed the first guests to his gallery, who looked with interest at the colourful works of the French painter Gaston Chaissac (1919-1964) in the small room. His paintings, collages and objects are on display there. As motifs, the self-taught Chaissac often chose human faces and figures, cheerful and melancholic, which he outlined with black paint. The abstract compositions that are on display, as well as the collages and painted objects, belong to a later phase. Two objects can be seen in the shop window.

Art not easy to classify
The painting ground that Chaissac used is also interesting. He painted with ink, oil and watercolours on canvas, corrugated cardboard, wrapping paper, jute and wood. For the collages, such as the "Composition de Collage de papier muraux au visage" from 1963, he used newspaper or wallpaper, which he painted over. According to the catalogue, Chaissac wrote the following to the painter Gleizes in 1939:

"I'm an artist, and that's incurable. I'm able to do things that not everyone can do, consequently I find it difficult to do things that everyone can do."

Art dealer Arturo Cuéllar and his wife have opened a new art gallery in Zug's old town.
Arturo Cuéllar with his colleague Christine: Two to three exhibitions per year are planned in the new gallery on Landsgemeindeplatz
                   Photos: Stefan Kaiser

Chaissac's pictorial language is not so easy to classify in terms of the art movement. The style of the sensitive artist, who suffered from tuberculosis since childhood and could not live from his art at that time, expresses touching emotions. In the past, his works were referred to as "art brut". He himself spoke of a "modern rustic style". Chaissac's works move between figuration and abstraction. Not shown in the exhibition are his letters and poems, to which he devoted himself more and more in later years.

Promoting Chaissac for years
Arturo Cuéllar, who devotes himself intensively to music in addition to art, is particularly pleased that the first exhibition of the new gallery in Zug presents this very artist: "Our gallery in Zurich dedicated its first exhibition to Chaissac back in 1989. Since then, we have represented his works and shown them alongside Cézanne, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Delacroix and others in Paris, New York and London, and lent them to numerous international exhibitions."

He himself finds the visual language of the artist, who had problems in life, original, direct, intelligent and incredibly lively.

"We received the works in the exhibition on loan or on commission."

According to the gallery owner, one reason for the Chaissac exhibition is the recently published monograph by Henry-Claude Cousseau, which will be presented in Zug by the author on 26 November. It is also interesting that his wife Corinne Cuéllar-Nathan, who comes from a very art-loving family, devotes herself intensively to painting, their works have already been exhibited in many places – and perhaps soon also in Zug.

The Gaston Chaissac exhibition runs until 24 December at Galerie Cuéllar, Landsgemeindeplatz 6, Zug. Open Tue. – Fri. 12 – 6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.