Xavier Krebs
(1923, Quimperlé - 2013, Montauban)


Born in 1923, in Quimperlé, Xavier Krebs engages in the second world war at only 18 years old. Forced to stay in the army, he signs up on a "voluntary" engagment while the war in Europe is ending. Thus, he follows the Rhin - Danube army led by De Latte and participates in the liberation of the concentration camps. When he comes back to Poulguin, in july 1946, he is covered with awards, but he still owes a few years to the army. Only five months after is return, he is sent to Indochina. He finally comes back in 1949, officially demobilised for dysentery (after having refused to destroy a village with napalm).

Profoundly changed by his violent experiences, while having established a first bond with Asia. Back in Brittany, he settles in Gauguin's ancient atelier, in Pont-Aven. But it is rather is innovative use of ceramics, in the Kéraluc atelier, that led him towards a powerful pictural abstraction. His meeting with René Duvillier, Jean Degottex, painters of the lyrical abstraction, will be decisive in his pictural journey.

In 1959, he leaves Quimper for Valmondois and setlles in Honoré Daumier's ancient ateler, before moving into the famous Maison du Pendu in 1962.

His work is constituted of stylistic times nourished by his encounters and travels. From the deep blacks of Soleils des eaux (1954-1967), to the Zen geometry of Seuils (1966-1975), Xavier Krebs developed his abstraction path by thinking of distant Oriental civilisations. With Shogun (1975-1978), he explored the colours variations by superimposing large 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, who died under mysterious circumstances in the forest of Huelgoat. He wanted to pay him a tribute by dedicating the retrospective of 2009, at the École 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

Groupe shows

2017 - Ailleurs est ici, École des Filles, Huelgoat
2016 - L'attrape-feu, École des filles, Huelgoat
2014 - Exote - Esthétiques du divers, École des filles, Huelgoat
2009 - Hommage à Victor Segalen, Rétrospective, École des filles, Huelgoat
2002 - La Nouvelle École 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, Londres
1964 - Galerie Nero et Bianco, Rome
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

Salons and 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