Jean Lurçat (1892-1966)
Jean Lurçat is from my family's home town of Angers in France. His tapestry designs have had a profound influence on me in their design and colour. I will never forget the times I visited the medieval Hôpital Saint Jean to see the exhibition there of his series of tapestries: Le chant du monde which in ten huge examples depict Man's perception of his own existence. Each tableau is about 1.5 times the size of the side of a London double-decker bus.
So moved was I by these that I have set half of them to music for orchestra: Le grand charnier, L'homme en gloire dans la paix, L'eau et le feu, Champagne and Conquête de l'éspace.
The images below gives some idea of the contrasts and gradations of colour Lurçat sometimes uses in his work. No web image can do justice to his art. You have to visit and confront it in the flesh for it to have its proper effect on you.
La chouette (detail)
Le chant du monde on display at L'hôpital Saint Jean, Angers