Continuities: French Artists in the MSU Skopje Collections

10/12/ 2023 - 22/02/ 2024


The exhibition Continuities presents a selection of paintings, sculptures, and prints, created in the middle and second half of the 20th century, in the period from 1933 to 2001, and representing the achievements of artists who lived and worked in France.

The collections of MSU Skopje have a total of 5291 works of art, out of which 300 works are from over 150 artists from France. According to the notes of the first director of the museum, Dr. Boris Petkovski, after the catastrophic earthquake that destroyed the city in 1963, the French writer and critic Jean Cassou was among the first to react. Through written correspondence, he animated many artists, who donated their works to Skopje as an act of solidarity with the ruined city. Petkovski’s residence in Paris in 1964/65 allowed him direct contact with artists, which resulted in a large collection of gifts, which was further expanded.

In 1966, the French collection was promoted for the first time through an exhibition of donated works. It was shown several more times during the museum’s history, and the works of artists from France had a key place in all versions of the museum’s exhibitions of the collection.

The history of this collection was completed by Sylvain Lecombre in 2015 with the release of a publication that deals with it from several aspects, supplementing it with revaluation and new knowledge, with the conclusion that the international collection marks the Museum of Contemporary Art Skopje as the only such institution in Europe.

It can be said that most of the artist-donors are the bearers of a creative continuity throughout the 20th century, as an impulse in the direction of maintaining and continuing the primacy of Paris as one of the most important centers of art. Attracting the attention of artists from different parts of Europe and the world, in that period artists such as: Pablo Picasso, Hans Hartung, Victor Vasarelli, Wifredo Lam, Hisao Domoto, Zao Wu Qi, and many others who lived and worked in Paris, hence the French collection in MSU-Skopje possesses this characteristic international spirit that marks the art of the 20th century.

The exhibition Continuities presents works by Hisao Domoto, Fernand Léger, Pierre Soulage, Zhao Wu Qi, Edouard Pignon, André Masson, Hans Hartung, Victor Vasarelli, Asadur, Anna-Eva Bergman, Wilfredo Lam, Zora Stack, Bram Van Velde, Juan Rabascal, Samuel Bury, Bernard Buffe, Barbara Kwasniewska, Zoran Music, Marta Pan, Etienne Ajdi, Sophie Lecomte.

The exhibition marks 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between France and North Macedonia, as well as 60 years since the Skopje earthquake.

The curators are Vladimir Janchevski and Blagoja Varoshanec.


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