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Born in Paris in 1925, at the age of 19 Denise Lioté studied at the École des Beaux-Arts and later at the École Nationale des Arts Décoratifs (School of Applied Arts). She came to appreciate Cézanne.
Acting as interpreter for an American journalist, she met Bonnard and Léger, visited Braque and Pignon in their studios, and discovered a new world of pictorial possibilities.
In 1955, after becoming acquainted with Vieira da Silva and De Staël, she redirected her personal research towards a more allusive figurative expression involving cities and building sites. Then she turned her attention to the four elements, starting with water and moving on to fire which led her in turn to engage in larger compositions. In 1961, she felt the need to re-establish contact with more solid structures. Tree roots and stumps attracted her because of their dramatic quality.
She had shows in Paris, Brussels, Nancy, Le Havre. In 1968, a meeting with Léon Zack freed her to open her work up to a greater pictorial and spiritual approach. Her universe grew lighter.
In 1970, visits to Montreal and New York revealed the wide open spaces of North America. The painter, Julian Levi, encouraged her new direction and invited her to take part in the Salon of the American Academy of Arts, a group show at the Cultural Centre Museum in New York. On her return, her new approach was reminiscent, but only faintly, of the tortured roots, and this added a poetic dimension to her painting, gradually crystalizing with tranquillity, breath, fluidity, fragmented and vibrant spaces. The thinking and poetic intuition to be found in Bachelard also permeated her universe, remaining to this day a true source of inspiration and reflection… the forms slowly became less figurative translating into immense leaps towards the light, as if taking flight. A time of meditation, of deepening spirituality, as she painted side by side with Vera Pagava, where geometric structures took shape only to dissolve into textures gaining every minute in transparency. Glazing at work...
After mastering the intimate relationship between planes, lines, curved spaces, Denise Lioté chose the path leading to freedom of being and thought which defies physical constraints, all the while passionately embracing primordial questions relating to life and the cosmos, and feeding on writers such as Kandinsky and Reeves.
Submitted by the artist's niece.