“With just a few strokes of his brush he conjures up an entire world. James Coignard extends the boundaries between concrete and abstract. He knows how to create chromatic melodies that shift in timbre from cobalt blue to blood red. His pictures are an artistic epicentre where lines, letters and numbers meld with vigorous swashes of colour.” That is how the writer Johan Persson has described the artist’s paintings.
With this exhibition we honour James Coignard, showing some of his last carborundum engravings and paintings as well as presenting the book “L’œuvre gravé de James Coignard” volume VI. In this edition, we have gathered together all the engravings that James Coignard produced between June 2005 and his decease, on 7 March 2008. Behind him he left many fond memories and a life’s work as a great artist.
James Coignard’s principal modes of expression were oil on canvas and gravure au carborundum, but also in bronze and glass sculptures as well as in ceramics. His work has been shown on more than 400 exhibitions, primarily in Central Europe and Scandinavia, but also in Canada and the USA. His first Swedish exhibition was at Malmö Museum in 1956. The early 1970s saw the start of a long-term liaison with Galleri Östermalm in Stockholm, owned by Editions Sonet. They came to represent him in Scandinavia and edited several volumes of his graphic works. It was not until 2003 that we at Galleri GKM Siwert Bergström, took over the role of James Coignard’s representative. By then, however, we had already known one another for almost 20 years, and we have many treasured memories of our meetings.
We recall our visits to his various studios, on the rue Martel in Paris, in La Boissière-École and later in Antibes. It was always such fun to be there and experience the playful way in which he coaxed forth his works of art with paints and a variety of materials. More often than not he would present us with a personally dedicated drawing or engraving before we left. That was the kind of person James Coignard was: generous to a fault – a friendly, modest, self-effacing man who never had a bad word to say about anyone.
We are delighted that, in collaboration with James Coignard’s children; Pascale, David, Emmanuelle and Simon, and his assistant and close friend, Fatima Ashad, we are able to continue to work with his artistic production and to ensure that it lives on.
James Coignard was an important artist, but also a warm and compassionate human being, a big-hearted man whose death has left a gaping hole. We are fortunate, at least, in having his art to remember him by.
Thank you James.
Thomas & Karl-Johan Bergström