Pierre Soulages began his abstract body of work in the post-war years, using Expressionist gestures and dark colors. In the 1950s he began exhibiting around the world, notably in New York; since then, his work has been met with unanimous acclaim.
For Soulages, black is both an obsession and a quest. Reflected light plays a dominant role in his work, where material creates texture— contrasts that give surfaces a rough quality. Soulages speaks of single-pigment painting rather than monochrome painting. In 1979, he began a new phase, which he termed “outrenoir” (beyond black), that focused on the depth of black and its relation to light. A meditative dimension is omnipresent in his work, arising from his interest in Zen and Asian cultures.