Robert Combas

Born in Lyon in 1957, Robert Combas is one of the most renowned painters of the late 20th century. After having followed courses at the Fine Arts School of Montpellier, he rapidly acquired definite recognition. Paradoxically, Combas’ first personal exhibitions were held abroad, in Amsterdam and in Düsseldorf, while his first retrospective, in 1985, took place at the Museum of Sainte-Croix Abbaye in Sables-d’Olones, France.
Influenced by comic strips and popular culture in general, as well as rock music, the art of Robert Combas is tainted with irony and a quasi-omnipresent humor, which at times leads to a stroke of the grotesque. The brazen nature of his work is demonstrated by the diversity of the genres and themes with which he engages, from classic new millennium portraits to societal or historical subjects, as well as a certain attraction towards religion and esotericism, as of the late 1980s.
As of 1981, Robert Combas joined the Figuration Libre movement, an expressive form invented by the artist Ben, and which held its first exhibition in a Parisian apartment the very same year. At the start of the 1980s it included a dozen artists before limiting itself to a group of four friends: Combas, François Boisrond, Hervé di Rosa, and Rémi Blanchard. Without any kind of joint esthetic program or set paradigm, this foursome was nevertheless driven by a joint ambition to return art to the general public through concrete means in order to break away from the close-minded intellectualism of the 1970s, as occurred with Minimalism and Conceptualism, and advocate for a deliberate return to figuration. Despite evident stylistic differences, the members of Figuration Libre all took a new look at contemporary popular culture, its advertising, and other images, which fostered their art and led to bursts of color and the inclusion of surprising objects and figures.

Symbolic figure of the French contemporary art, often considered as an icon, Robert Combas is very much appreciated in the Art market. The results he reaches at Aguttes are an eloquent illustration of this success. Thanks to the dynamism of its experts and to a keen interest towards him, the contemporary art department of Aguttes frequently proposes paintings of this popular and recognizable artist, who has become a classic of French auctions since several years.

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(Français) Dès 1981, Robert Combas avait en effet rejoint le mouvement de la Figuration libre – expression inventée par l’artiste Ben et dont la première exposition se déroule dans un appartement parisien la même année. Il désignait à l’origine quelques dizaines d’artistes officiant dans les années 1980, pour finalement se restreindre au groupe formé par quatre amis : Combas, François Boisrond, Hervé di Rosa et Rémi Blanchard. Dépourvu de tout programme esthétique commun, de carcan dogmatique arrêté, le « groupe des quatre » est pourtant animé par une aspiration commune : ramener l’art du côté du public et du concret, initier une scission avec l’inflexion hermétique et intellectuelle qui a marqué les années 1970 – l’art minimal et conceptuel en tête –, enfin, prôner un retour délibéré à la figuration. Malgré des divergences stylistiques évidentes, les différents membres de la Figuration libre porteront tous un nouveau regard sur la culture contemporaine et populaire, l’imagerie, la publicité ou autres images qui nourrissent leur production, leur inspirant des explosions de couleurs et des mises en scène de personnages ou d’objets singuliers.

Figure symbolique de l’art français contemporain, parfois considéré comme une véritable icône, Robert Combas occupe une place de choix sur le marché de l’art, dont les résultats qu’il obtient régulièrement chez Aguttes sont une illustration éloquente. Grâce au dynamisme de ses experts et à un intérêt vif à son encontre, le département d’art contemporain d’Aguttes propose régulièrement à la vente les oeuvres si reconnaissables de cet artiste populaire, devenues un classique des enchères.

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