La Méditerranéenne

Germaine Richier… the name spontaneously calls up for me the Mediterranean, ever since the real Revelation  experienced a few decades ago in front of four of her slender and strong silhouettes, anchored as if for eternity on the parapet of the terrace at the Picasso museum in Antibes, against the azure depth of the sea.

So that is the slant of this exhibition – reveal the magicalcharacter of Richier’s world, so charged with reminiscences of her Provençal childhood, by presenting some of her works in osmosis with nature as we see it in a calanque setting.

This may sound run-of-the-mill, but in publications about her very few photos of her works show them out of doors, and even less in natural surroundings. Yet, as the critic Alain Jouffroy wrote: ‘Germaine Richier often had her works photographed in front of trees, or in a tangle of branches (…)’ Only a few very fine pictures by Brassaï, Agnès Varda, Luc Joubert… were taken in the overgrown garden of her Paris studio avenue de Châtillon, in the Camargue region, or in the Provençal countryside.

To remedy this shortfall and adopt – in all modesty – a different viewpoint from that of the superb retrospective held last year at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and at the Musée Fabre in Montpellier *, the catalogue of this exhibition favours images paired with a biographical text by Olivier Cena and quotes chosen for the most part from her contemporaries – writers, critics, poets, artists… accompanying a selection of thirteen creatures, humans or hybrids, carefully stage set amid the ruins of l’Escalette overgrown by maquis.

Unfortunately, it has not been possible to leave the sculptures standing out in the open, but visitors will be able to admire them on-site, each one mounted on a platform of undressed timber planks, in aspacious hangar – its shade cut by shafts of sunlight filtered by the wooden shutters that cover its openings – and in a patio surrounded by high walls, amid peaceful and typically Mediterranean surroundings.

Here’s hoping that this presentation of Richier’s sculpture, considered in its fundamental relationship with all that is human, in its crossovers with forms of nature, and permeated by the belief in the pantheistic forces that inhabit the hidden world, will constitute an initiation to mysteries ** – unforgettable for visitor and reader alike, without in any way detracting from its timeless character.

Eric Touchaleaume


* “Germaine Richier, rétrospective” Centre Georges Pompidou from 01/03/2023 to 12/06/2023 and musée Fabre from 12/07/2023 to 05/11/2023.

** Jean Cassou

L’Eau, 1953
146 X 63 X 101 cm


Torse I, 1934
Bronze, fondeur Susse
108 X 51 X 34 cm


Le Coureur, 1955
Bronze, épreuve d’exposition, fondeur Susse
205 X 54 X 94 cm