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Albert Bitran was born in Istanbul in 1931. He studies at the Collège Saint Michel, where he obtained the Turkish and French bachelor degrees. At 17, he went to Paris to study architecture which he quickly abandoned to devote himself to painting.
He was only 20 in 1951, for the first personal exhibition of his geometric works at Galerie Arnaud, meeting place of the vanguard of Saint Germain des Près and he participated in numerous events including the first exhibition of abstract art in Caracas and "Divergence" at the Théâtre de Babylone.
In 1954 he exhibited at the Galerie Denise René, with a preface by Henri-Pierre Roché who opened his prestigious collection to him and leased him a room boulevard Arago where he worked.
Bitran dropped the geometric abstraction and turned to research painting, which he determined to follow the remainder of his life. He spent long stays in the South of France and his early studies focused on the theme of landscape, a theme he developed up to Naissance d’un paysage (Birth of a landscape) a large collage of 1956 that he entered in the l’Envolée Lyrique (Lyric Flight) at the Musée du Luxembourg in 2006.
In 1958, Albert Bitran married, became a French citizen, moved to Rue des Plantes and to Rigny-le-Ferron (Aube) where he had a ceramics studio. He also spent prolonged stays in Italy where he worked and exhibited. In Paris, Jean Pollack, particularly, showed his works in numerous exhibitions at the Galerie Ariel. In the sixties, Bitran developed the themes of L’Atelier (the Studio) and then Intérieur-Extérieur ( Inside-Outside) with drawings, marouflé papers and oils. Since 1962 he also experimented with etching and lithography, first at Mourlot, and then at Bellini and Leblanc. In 1961, in his Copenhagen gallery, Borge Birch presented, for the first time in Scandinavia, a Bitran personal exhibition. Northern countries, that he visited often, showed a great interest in his work, as well as Holland, where he exhibited regularly, first at Nova Spectra in The Hague, then, from 1971 on, in Amsterdam at the Gallery Martin de Boer. In 1968, he moved to Notre-Dame-des-Champs, in Montparnasse, where he worked and lived until 2000.
Starting in 1970, he created Doubles, an analytic interrogation of his painting. In Bitran ou la question de l’œil (Bitran or the interrogating eye) (1975), Claude Lefort writes: "le double condense les termes de l’énigme" ( the double condenses the terminology of the enigma) and in the introduction to the exhibition at Galerie Ariel in 1973, Jean-Louis Baudry: "with the doubles, Bitran perfects his trap."
In 1973 he created Sextuor, a sequence of six paintings in closed cycle, exhibited according to a plan designed by Ricardo Porro, in museums in Norway, Denmark, Holland, France, and Austria, and which is now in the collection of the Toulouse Frac Midi-Pyrenees. " les Obliques, les Linéaires et les Latéraux " (Obliques, Linears and Laterals).
In the early eighties, Bitran set up his studio in Lot, where he works for many months experimenting with oils on paper and cardboard techniques. He created the Grandes Formes (Great Forms), which Patrick Bongers chooses for his first exhibition at Galerie Louis Carré in 1987; these works are also exhibited at the Boisserée gallery in Köln, at Art Point in Tokyo and at Louis Stern in Los Angeles.
A retrospective was dedicated to his works at the Campredon Museum, in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, in 1991. Upon this juncture a filmed interview with Jean Paris was published in Coloquio, the review of the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon. The Maison des Arts Georges Pompidou in Cajarc presents "Albert Bitran, paintings and drawings 1980-1992", works in which the light and cliffs of the Lot are revealed, with prefaces by Dora Vallier and Claire Stoullig.
After the “Blacks”, oil paintings on paper, first exhibited in Mexico City in 2008 and then in various cultural centres in France, Bitran has been working mostly on very large paintings. The last ones were exhibited in April 1912 in the Grosvenor Gallery in London.
Since 2000 Bitran has lived and worked in Montrouge by Paris and Villerville in Normandy. He also stays a lot in Turkey, the country of his youth. He is Officer of Arts and Letters.
Works of Albert Bitran are represented in the following public collections:
• Musée d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.
• Musée de la Ville de Paris, Paris.
• Fonds National d'Art Contemporain, Paris.
• Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, Donation Jacqueline Delubac, Lyon, France.
• Musée de Nantes, Donation Gildas Fardel, Nantes, France.
• F.R.A.C. Midi-Pyrénées, Toulouse, France.
• Les Abattoirs, musée de Toulouse, France.
• Musée Municipal de Saint Dié, France.
• Musée des Beaux-Arts H. Rigaud, Perpignan, France.
• Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark.
• Ny Carlsberg Fondet, Copenhagen, Denmark.
• Randers Kunstmuseum, Randers, Denmark.
• Genthôfte Radhus, Copenhagen, Denmark.
• Gemeente Museum, The Hague, The Netherlands.
• Centraal Museum, Utrech, The Netherlands.
• FONDATION ROI BAUDOUIN, Thomas Neirynck Collection , Brussels, Belgium.
• FONDATION GANDUR POUR L'ART, Geneva, Switzerland.
• Museum der 20-Jahrunderts, Vienna, Austria.
• Rupertinum Museum, Salzburg, Austria.
• ISTANBUL MODERN, Istanbul, Turkey.
• Istanbul Resim ve Heykel Müzesi, Istanbul, Turkey.
• Contemporary Art Society, London, UK.
• Sonia Henie-Niels Onstad Art Center, Oslo/Norway.
• Lunds Kunsthal, Lund, Sweden.
• Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, U.S.A.
• Museum of Rhodes Island School of Design, New York, U.S.A.
• University Museum, Berkeley, U.S.A.
• Grunewald Foundation for Graphic Arts, Los Angeles, U.S.A.
• Cuban State Collection, Havana, Cuba.
• Fondation Bloemhof, Curaçao.
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