Composition II (1967)
JANINE MONGILLAT (1929-2002)
Collage on board; signed bottom right
In period frame
While the work of the Merz collage artists invariably has a graphic element that roots it in the terrestrial world, the remarkable collages of Janine Mongillat are more profoundly abstract. And all the better for it. Not only do we feel the pictures more deeply connected to the artist but using – as she does in her work – the most basic material and detritus of human life (fragments, scrap paper, wood shavings, cord, jute and metal) – they are more deeply connected to all of us. They’re like a map, complete with all the texture of it, of the human experience – each one a kind of archaeological artifact or fossil of a life or our time.
Born in 1930, Janine Mongillat was a French painter, sculptor and installation artist who was prominent in the Parisian art community. The wife of one of India’s most renowned modernist painters, Sayed Haider Raza (whom she met at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts), her works are a brilliant mix of abstraction, the realistic and the absurd through the amalgamation of painting and sculpture. She was one of the great figures of the Parisian art scene for over four decades.