The Enderlin Gallery, located in Roxbury in the Catskills of upstate
New York, announced its first exhibition, the works of Claude Pelieu
(1934-2002) and Mary Beach. The show includes collage, drawings,
and works on canvas.
show, which will be held at the gallery's Main Street location on
Route 30 in Roxbury, runs from May 17 through June 15, 2003. A reception
was held for the exhibition May 31, at 3 p.m.
Pelieu and Mary Beach met in 1962 and, until Claude's unfortunate
passing in December of 2002, they shared an exemplary rich and creative
life. Traveling extensively while living primarily in Paris, New
York and San Francisco, their existence was a bohemian adventure
during which they ceaselessly explored and continuously created:
With a keen and graceful eye they deconstruct, critique and reinterpret
the classical and contemporary worlds of art and media, while creating
striking new works of wit and beauty - drawing subconscious associations
that are both mysterious and poetic.
hailed in Claude's native France as the natural inheritors of the
Surrealist legacy (a direct line has been drawn by French critics
from Picasso and Braque to Schwitters and Duchamp to Warhol and
Pelieu), their works are highly prized and respected. However, in
Mary's native America, the pair remain relatively unknown - their
work still awaits discovery by both mainstream critics and collectors.
show, the first of Claude's work since his passing, will afford
the opportunity to discover, or reassess, a large body of their
work. Including a great number of collages on paper; large collages
on board; paintings and drawings, the show represents an overview
of their life's work - providing insight not only into their individual
development, but into the workings of their unique creative partnership.
Enderlin Gallery will also exhibit, for the first time, many of
Claude's final works. Not only are they some of his most intriguing
and beautiful, they also provide a fitting and touching coda to
a life of art and passion exceedingly well lived.
Pelieu was born in 1934 in Beauchamp, Val D'Oise, France. The first
of his many shows was at the famed Galerie du Haut Pave, in Paris.
(This gallery was, and still is, known as one of the foremost Parisian
venues for talented young artists and was, in Claude's time, under
the partial parvenu of Raoul Dufy and Henri Matisse.) While living
the life of a young French artist in 1950's Paris, Claude continued
to work and exhibit (at the Le Soleil dans la Tete in Paris; the
Galerie Alphonse Chave in St. Paul de Vence). Although largely self
taught, and greatly influenced by artists such as Marcel Duchamp,
Max Ernst and Kurt Schwitters, Claude did deviate from the "bohemian
norm" long enough to study under Fernand Leger.
1962, in Paris, Claude met Mary, and they soon departed for San
Francisco: Mary had given Claude a copy of Allen Ginsberg's "Reality
Sandwiches", the two artists had corresponded with the Beat poet
- had shown him some of their work and Claude's poetry - and, with
poet/publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti's encouragement, they left
for America. In San Francisco the two quickly found themselves in
the midst of the flourishing West Coast art scene, and struck up
lifetime friendships and creative associations with Ferlinghetti,
Ginsberg and Charles Plymell (poet and publisher of Zap Comics).
Soon after, in 1965, they left for New York City where they lived
and worked for several years - spending all of 1969 living at the
Chelsea Hotel, where they became friends and worked with such writers
and artists as William Burroughs, Ed Sanders, Patti Smith, Robert
Mapplethorpe and Harry Smith (who would later live with them for
a time when they finally decamped to upstate New York, to Cooperstown,
in the 1980's).
travels followed (to England, France); other artistic collaborations
flourished (with William Burroughs, Brion Gysin); and different
mediums were explored (writing poetry - "Pilote Automatique", published
by City Lights; French translations of Burroughs and Ginsberg; illustration)
- yet throughout all this time Claude continued with his collages,
exhibiting at various galleries in Paris and Caen; at the Mohammed
Gallery in Genoa, Italy; at the Biennale de Sao Paolo in Brazil;
the Centre Pompidou, Beaubourg in Paris; the Suzan Cooper Gallery
in New York.
and Mary wed in 1975, and finally settled in upstate New York -
first in Cooperstown, then in the nearby small town of Norwich.
It was there that the two quietly lived and constantly worked -
Claude always exploring, always experimenting, always finding new
ways to deconstruct and reinterpret the world that had forever been
both his inspiration and provocation - until, ill with cancer and
diabetes, he passed away on December 20, 2003.
Beach was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1919. In 1925, after
her mother's divorce, she moved to France. During the first part
of World War II she lived in the small town of St. Jean de Luz,
but, with the entrance of the United States in the war in 1941,
she was soon viewed as a suspicious alien and was, for a time, interned
in a Nazi prison camp.
her parents protests (but perhaps under the influence of her relative
Sylvia Beach - famed proprietor of Paris's Shakespeare & Co. and
the first publisher of James Joyce), Mary pursued her life as an
artist with great passion and from an early age. Her first solo
show was at the Galerie du Bearn, in Pau, France in 1943, and she
has since then continuously exhibited her work all over the world:
In New York, Algeria, Paris, Brussels, Caen, Strasbourg, Vienna,
Grenoble . . .
returned to the United States in 1946, where she married Alain Beach
(the American war hero she had met in France) and had two children.
She attended the Hartford Art School (where she won first prize
in her class), and also attended school at the Museum of Fine Arts
1957 Mary and her family returned to France, to Strasbourg, and
then to Paris in 1959. She attended the esteemed Grande Chaumiere,
where she studied under Henri Goetz. She exhibited at the historic
Salon des Indepentes in Paris in both 1957 and 1958; won the Prix
du Dome at the Salon des Femmes Peintres in 1959; won 1st Prize,
Vichy, France, Silver Medal in 1959 as well; and was exhibited at
the Salon des Suindependents in Paris in 1960.
early accomplishments stand alone, and would be exemplary for any
artist. But for an American woman in France - for a wife and mother
in the late 1950's anywhere - Mary's success in the male-dominated
art world is truly astounding. She is one of the great, underappreciated
pioneers of her generation. Both as a woman and as an artist.
the loss of her first husband, Mary met Claude Pelieu. (See above).
While living with Claude she continued to work and exhibit all over
the world (Galerie du Moulin Rouge "off" Biennale de Paris; Suzan
Cooper Gallery in New York; Galerie Wandragore, Rouen; etc., etc.).
During this time she worked at City Lights, in San Francisco, where
she discovered and published the poet Bob Kaufman and, under her
own imprint of Beach Books, published William Burroughs. She also
collaborated extensively with Allen Ginsberg. Today, Mary lives
and works in Norwich, New York.