* 1926 Cholet
† 2016 Cholet
François Morellet was born in Cholet (Maine-et-Loire) in 1926. From 1948 until 1975 he worked in his family's business. As a painter François Morellet is entirely self-taught. From about 1950 François Morellet began calling himself an "abstract painter". He had his first solo show at the Galerie Creuze in Paris.
From the mid-1950s François Morellet viewed the picture field as a potentially infinite structure extending beyond the limits of the canvas. In 1953 he produced "Répartition de 16 formes identiques", a work that can be cited as setting out the agenda for all the work he later did: the picture surface is subdivided by black horizontal and vertical lines forming sixteen squares of identical size. In his paintings and later his sculpture as well, François Morellet continued to vary this objectivity and radical reduction, the subdivision of a surface, later also a three-dimensional space, into squares and cubes. François Morellet is interested in method rather than the ultimate results, with the aesthetically satisfying effect playing an important role. Morellet employs all sorts of materials; early on, from about 1963, neon tubing and kinetic moving elements featured in his work. From 1960 until 1968 François Morellet was a member of "GRAV" (Groupe de Recherche d'Art Visuel), a group of artists who also worked with kinetic objects and explored the possibilities of the visual arts experimentally.
In "Relâche n° 1" (1992) François Morellet created a synthesis, as it were, of his œuvre, using all materials he had previously deployed - ranging from canvas through neon tubing to adhesive tape and metal - in aleatory combinations. The Musée national d'art moderne in Paris mounted a grand retrospective of François Morellet's work in 1986.
François Morellet died in May, 2016 at the age of 90 years in his place of birth Cholet.