Xavier Krebs
(1923, Quimperlé - 2013, Montauban)

Born in 1923, in Quimperlé (29), Xavier Krebs enlisted in the Indochina war. He came back deeply affected but also having built a first bridge towards Asia. Back in Brittany, he moved in the former studio of Gauguin, in Pont-Aven. But it is much more his innovative practice of ceramics, in the Kéraluc studio, that brought him to a powerful pictorial abstraction. His meeting with Jean Degottec and René Duvillier, painters of the lyrical abstraction, were decisive in his pictorial approach.

In 1959, he left Quimper to go to Auvers-sur-Oise and moved in the old studio of Honoré Daumier, then, in 1962, in the famous Hanged Man’s House.

The painted work is constituted of stylistic times nourished of meetings and travels. From deep blacks of Soleils des eaux (1954-1967), to the Zen geometry of Seuils (1966-1975), Xavier Krebs developed the abstraction path by the thinking of distant Oriental civilisations. With Shogun (1975-1978), he explored the colour’s variations by superimposing big flat tints. Sometimes opened toward an estuary, closed or opened on a chasm, Les Trois Gorges (2000-2010) evoke the Cahors, where he had a stay. It is also a tribute to the construction of the Three-Gorges dam in China. Inspired by Indian or North African warm colours, his last series Triangles (2010-2013) unveils repeated horizontal compositions with luminous tones and in which the spectator is captured by a small triangle in perspective.

From ceramics to painting, Krebs never stopped to question Signs, Thresholds or Prints. A work of influences, reminiscences and superpositions celebrated by multiple retrospectives in the Ingres Museum in Montauban or in the Henri-Martin Museum in Cahors, and by personal exhibitions worldwide.

Xavier Krebs built his work as closely as possible to the writings of the poet, doctor, archaeologist, Sinologist, Victor Segalen dead in mysterious conditions in the forest of Huelgoat. He wanted to pay tribute to him by dedicating the retrospective of 2009, at the Ecole des filles.

Exhibitions selected

Solo exhibitions

2013 - Les Seuils du rêve, Musée de Cahors Henri Martin, Cahors
2007 - Cinquante ans de peinture, Centre d'art contemporain de l'abbaye de Beaulieu, Ginals
1996 - Rétrospective, Musée Ingres, Montauban
1975 - Musée des Beaux-Arts, Les Sables-d'Olonnes
1978/1985/1989/1991 - Galerie Le Scribe, Montauban
1972 - Galerie Meyer, Lausanne
1964-69 - Galerie de Verneuil, Paris
1961/1971 - Galerie de Beaune, Paris
1952 - Foyer Montparnasse, Paris
1949-50/1952 - Galerie Saluden, Quimper

Group exhibitions

  • 2017 - Ailleurs est ici, École des Filles-Espace d'art, Huelgoat
  • 2016 - L'attrape-feu, Ecole des filles-Espace d'art, Huelgoat
    2014 - Exote - Esthétiques du divers, Ecole des filles-Espace d'art, Huelgoat
    2009 - Hommage à Victor Segalen, Rétrospective, Ecole des filles-Espace d'art, Huelgoat
    2002 - La Nouvelle Ecole de Paris 1941-65, Centre d’art contemporain de l’abbaye de Beaulieu, Ginals
    1995 - 25e anniversaire du centre d’art contemporain, Centre d’art contemporain de l’abbaye de Beaulieu, Ginals
    1995 - Le Proche et le lointain, Musée Ingres, Montauban
    1986 - Acquis et Perspectives, Centre d'art contemporain de l'abbaye de Beaulieu, Ginals
    1984 - Les non-figuratifs du Midi autour d’Atlan, Musée Ingres, Montauban
    1980-81 - Autour d’une collection, 1945-1980, Centre d’art contemporain de l’abbaye de Beaulieu, Ginals
    1979 - Empreintes d'un territoire, Centre d’art contemporain de l’abbaye de Beaulieu, Ginals
    1971 - Galerie Pilote Saint-Germain des Prés, Paris
    1966 - Centre culturel français, Istanbul
    1965 - New Vision Centre, London
    1964 - Galerie Nero et Bianco, Roma
    1963 - Suzanne De Coninck présente 30 peintres et sculpteurs de l’Ecole de Paris, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes
    1962 - Galerie de Beaune, Paris
    1954 - Galerie Suillerot, Paris

Art Fairs

Salon d'Automne, 1950
Salon d'art sacré, Paris, 1964
Salon Réalités Nouvelles, 1987, 1992
Art Paris, 2014


X. Krebs, Le Pin, éditions Réciproques, 2003
Rétrospective Krebs, Hommage à Victor Segalen
, éditions Françoise Livinec, 2009
Le Carnet japonais
, (livre d'artiste imprimé à 100 exemplaires), Association des Amis du Musée Henri-Martin, 2013
Les Seuils du rêve
, (catalogue de l'exposition Xavier Krebs), Musée de Cahors Henri Martin, 2013