Georges Folmer

His artwork

Academic and multidisciplinary

Georges Folmer was born in 1895 in Nancy. In 1911 he entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts of Nancy where he received a multidisciplinary education: drawing, painting, sculpture, engraving on wood and copper, architecture. But in 1914 he was taken prisoner in Germany until 1917, when he was released on parole in Geneva where he completed his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Geneva. From 1918 to 1927 he regularly exhibited his works at Nancy Mosser and Majorelle galleries at the Lorraine Society of Friends of the Arts and the Museum of Mulhouse.

A journey of initiation in the Nabis Henri-Gabriel Ibels

In 1919 he moved to Paris and worked in the theater workshop of Henri-Gabriel Ibel. From there Folmer leaves the academic way to engage in stylistic simplification. He continues with the stylized shapes and designs costumes for theaters and was impressed by the formula of Maurice Denis, “a flat surface covered with colors assembled in a certain order.”

A decisive meeting – Theories of the Masters

In 1926, he met Félix Del Marle who runs the magazine in Lille (capital of the French Flanders) “Vouloir” and Lempereur, artist and musician. This is the beginning of the initiation Neoplasticism and abstract art. Folmer is studying the theories of Mondrian, Van Doesburg, Vantongerloo, then he drew and painted his first works of cubist influence, often inspired by the world of theater and circus.

In 1932, he attended Auguste Herbin presiding Abstraction-Creation. Folmer said that “the writings of Mondrian make him aware of the effectiveness of pure form.”

Exhibition highlights – Study of the Golden Ratio designated by the letter φ

In 1935, Folmer first participates in Mural Art Fair in Paris, alongside Gleizes, Kandinsky, Gorin… He has undertaken research on the Golden Section with his friend Dimitri Viener, mathematician and artist. Then he moved into the studio in the Rue Montauban, “La Ruche” (“the Hive”) in the “corner of princes”.

In 1937, the state commissioned a mural for the International Exhibition of 37, “Jupiter throwing lightning” for the Hall of the City of Paris, the work must be classical, figurative, but it is highly stylized cubist and reminiscence. However, in the studio, the works of Folmer are moving toward abstraction that deals with ink drawings, ink and charcoal or ink and gouache.

Towards abstraction

1939 is an important year: founded by Nelly van Doesburg and Fredo Sides Renaissance Plastics Group. Folmer participates in the international exhibition organized by abstraction of the Group at the Galerie Charpentier in Paris. In fact this event will be a preview of the Salon des Realities Nouvelles. This proliferation led to a lasting friendship between Folmer, Del Marle, Gorin, Beöthy and Servan.

In 1941/1942 these are the years of maturity guiding the creation of Folmer: previous abstract works, drawings or paintings were marked by a work area and overlay techniques, now is growing and the geometrization the solids are smoothed. But what will mark this period is:

  • The creation of polychrome wood (acquisitions of the Museums of Grenoble in 1988 and Nancy in 1993). Continued monotype inks or ink and gouache heightened with pencil or blood. He performs with brushes and rollers of his own manufacture.
  • The reference to the Golden Section “Harmonic Symphony” (acquired in 1947 by the MNAM of Paris, now at the Centre Pompidou. Larousse Encyclopedia Volume II p.97) which regulates the construction of geometric Folmer.

In 1945, Fredo Sides founded a new association called the “Salon des Réalités Nouvelles”. Folmer was closely involved: the art is exclusively dedicated to abstract art. The first edition starts in 1946.

The profusion: “New Realities” – “Space Group” – Colette Allendy

In 1948 Folmer signs the manifesto of Réalités Nouvelles who rebels against the systematic elimination of abstract works from any official exhibition.

In 1950, he sets up his “solo” exhibition at Colette Allendy and Denise René gallery, the only ones defending abstraction. He will be congratulated by Seuphor.

In 1951, Folmer signs the manifesto of the group Espace (cf. Museum of the thirties in Boulogne-Billancourt) and became active with Sonia Delaunay, Walter Gropius, Fernand Leger, Jean Gorin, Leo Breuer, Aurélie Nemours Jean Arp. Art is built based on one relation form/color. Folmer exposed again at Colette Allendy.

In 1952 he was commissioned by the Foundation Espace to furnish at the Cité Universitaire de Paris, House of Tunisia. At the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, he is appointed by Herbin responsible for rooms in the “abstract-geometric“. Seuphor described Folmer as “persistent builder.” Folmer has become a major player in the art scene of geometric abstraction. 1953 was a year of unrest: the death of Del Marle, Folmer, Gorin, Servanes resign group ESPACE which, they say, the initial arguments were diverted from the goal: synthesis of the arts …

Until 1956, Folmer, with the confidence of Herbin, defends and develops a nice resonance-geometric abstraction. Art critics: Ragon, Boudaille, Riviere, Gindertael and it echoed. But the departure of Herbin, which remains Honorary President of the Salon, the “tachiste” and the “informal” oppose “constructivist“. Folmer was appointed Secretary General of the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles and defends its rooms “constructivist“. Seuphor wrote “Folmer is a pillar of moral Salon.”


Other geometric shapes in Folmer, before the foundation of the group

Since the 50’s Folmer is turning increasingly to a purity of forms, as well as a diversification with the introduction of curves and oval shapes. The range is marked by strong blue or ocher, punctuated by subtle transparencies of gray. Reflection of his personality rigorous, austere and almost confidential, the door to speak with diverse black density.

In 1957, the compositions still have a rigorous pace but note more and more the introduction of curves whose strength is enhanced by a more limited palette: white force that bring light to the black and gray, very occasionally a blue s ‘inserts.For some time it takes to title his works to Mallarmé, which translates the abstract language of plastic form Folmer “a poetic fusion of abstraction and plastic” as the critic René Massat.

In 1959-1960, despite his ardent defense of the “geometric section” of the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Folmer sees his picture rails linear reduced. He decided to combine “all geometric” those of the Réalités Nouvelles and those who recognize themselves as such, the Group Mesure he founded and chaired in 1960, having with him Jean Gorin as Vice President. Among them: Aurélie Nemours, Leo Breuer, Marcelle Cahn, Marino Di Teana, Francis Pellerin.

From 1961 to 1965 Mesure opens a series of exhibitions in France, the Musée de Rennes and Germany: Ludwigshafen, Frankfurt, Bremen, Witten, Kaiserslautern … Folmer lectures, advocating the introduction of Abstraction in architecture and related fields, opening their ideal synthesis of the arts. In 1961 was elected Folmer consultant to the AFCC (Association of French Tips Colorists). He made two major exhibitions in Paris: one at the gallery Hautefeuille ran by Helen Pillement, the other at Raymond Cazenave where he shows his work kinetic (roto-paintings, reliefs, paintings).

In 1967, Folmer, along with Denise Rene, organized a large group exhibition in Toulouse. He works mosaic boxes and realized in buildings in Paris, Metz and Alford. The execution is done by Melano and Leoni, neighbors of “La Ruche” and Leger and Chagall mosaic.

In 1968 he retired from the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles for health reasons. After the expropriation of his studio and the destruction of part of “La Ruche”, he settled on the banks of the Rhine in Germany. There, he worked inks, monotype, new boxes of mosaics and kinetic models. In 1969 he exhibited his drawings at Landwerlin in Strasbourg.

In 1973, the Fair holds its jubilee of RN; the catalog preface is signed by Roger Van Gindertael. Three significant acquisitions from 71 to 73 by the City of Paris: “What is the glass art” by the Ministry of Culture: “Call 1958” by the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris: “I have my dream had scattered nudity.”

In 1977, death of Folmer Neumühl to Germany

From 1939 to 1973 we can say that will be explored Folmer the largest tract offered by the geometry to achieve its sculptural or pictorial creations, thus justifying his personality recognized artist-abstract geometric

  • geometry of the golden section in the Cubist work, and in abstraction
  • geometry in the volume with polychrome wood
  • geometry in the drawings, monotypes with ink and gouache
  • geometry in the large flat paints constructivist
  • geometry in the Tables with reliefs reliefs or paintings-grids
  • geometry in the rotational kinetic paintings
  • geometry for the mosaics in architecture..