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Robert Combas

Yvon Lambert Bookshop

In 1981, Robert Combas—who was only 24 years old at the time—instantaneously achieved great fame. As impertinent as his paintings, he declared himself the leader of figuration libre (free figuration) in France. Seven years later, the expression “figuration libre” is old hat. Fluxus artist Ben Vautrier coined the term after seeing an early showing of Robert Combas’ and Hervé di Rosa’s work. Soon, two other very young artists—Rémi Blanchard and Francois Boisrond—became associated with the movement. Sharing the same taste for spontaneous painting, taking their inspiration from comic strips rather than from traditional history, the four artists were regularly grouped under the banner invented by Vautrier. Within a year or two, the four Frenchmen saw their fame eclipsed by several young American artists at the height of their celebrity, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Kenny

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