Grey poured over Orange

Olivier Debré

Date : 1990

Medium : Painting

Size : 180 X 180cm

The work presented here was carried out towards the end of his life, and demonstrates the main features of his painting.
The size, the fluidity of colour, and the subtlety of light result from the technique of successive layers of alluvium revealed by the liquid layer that covers them. The work is arranged on a slightly oblique vertical axis of the indistinct limits of the banks that separate the central flow.

© Adagp, Paris, 1990

The guide

The title of Olivier Grey Poured over Orange plunges us immediately into a world of blended and overlapping colours.

In this work the artist has avoided a figurative style in preference for the expressive value of gesture and colour.

This square-shaped painting of around two metres squared emphasises the sensations caused by his treatment of colour and material. The canvas is coated with an initial layer of orange over which the artist has poured grey. The procedure provides a random effect. The painter does not apply the colour in a controlled way but rather lets the paint run its own course.

But is the artist happy with the result?
The final product is more complex. On this new foundation, the artist makes a further contribution by adding new colours. The wide, green sections at the bottom of the picture, the white in the upper part of the work, and the upper left margin where the paint has been scraped back, all show that the artist has taken control of the work to enrich the contrasts and blending and to create relief and depth.

A work full of nuances is thereby created, inviting the viewer into a colourful dream-like world. An early morning sky or a soft and tranquil wave?