1 February - 9 March 2024
Installation views
Press release

Galerie Dutko  is pleased to present, from February 1st to March 9th, 2024, the first retrospective exhibition of the American artist Robert Courtright (1926-2012) in Paris. After showcasing his works on numerous occasions in group shows and salons for over thirty years, we will unveil a collection of unprecedented works, including collages and masks, dating from the 1960s to his passing in 2012.


Born in 1926 in South Carolina, Robert Courtright was a self-taught artist. Close to the artistic approaches of Arte Povera, he developed a unique body of work over more than five decades, appearing remarkably contemporary today. His work spans over five decades, created in his studios in New York and Opio.


The apparent simplicity of Courtright's works reveals an incomparable world, simultaneously sophisticated, clever, and reduced to the essential: grids composed of neatly arranged rectangles of glued paper. These frameworks, these constructions, serve as the expression for a color palette ranging from blood red to sun yellow. Vibrant and saturated or pale, the colors play on the irregular surfaces of meticulously cut and rearranged papers.


Courtright's commitment to geometry is nourished by a particular attention to architecture. Since a seminal trip to Rome in 1952, surfaces, facades—flat but with infinite variations and irregularities gleaned from Italian and southern French buildings—occupy his mind. The initial collages, depicting architectural structures, bear witness to this fundamental attraction.

Soon, figurative motifs fade and disappear, making way for simple orthogonal cutouts. New materials come into play in his constructions with the introduction of corrugated cardboard, strips of gauze, or plaster. His decisive encounter with the Italian sculptor Bruno Romeda will give rise to an intense artistic collaboration. Under Romeda's influence, Courtright will initiate himself into working with metal.


A whole system of masks then develops. Primarily in bronze and papier-mâché, these masks are directly inspired by Lucas van Leyden's Bocca de la Verità (17th century) in Rome. Mostly circular in shape, Courtright plays around a common theme, similar to his collage work, multiplying variations in textures and colors.


With the language of the most refined abstraction, exceptional in its rigor and commitment to a clearly defined project, each work by Robert Courtright opens - in the words of Philip Jodidio - "a mental landscape formed by the centuries and perhaps rediscovered today."