French painter, sculptor, and installation artist, born in Cholet. He was self-taught as an artist and his early paintings were realist still-life subjects. In his first solo exhibition in Paris in 1950 he showed primitivist paintings and sculpture, reminiscent of, but far more restrained than, the contemporary work of the Cobra group. In the same year he encountered for the first time the Concrete art of Max Bill. Subsequently his work has usually been based on mathematics. In 1960 he was a co-founder of the Groupe de Recherche d'Art Visuel, but as well as optics and movement he was interested in using systems which combine logic and chance. Sphère-Trame (1962), made from intersecting steel rods and produced as a multiple, is an object which can appear from different angles transparent and simple or opaque and complex. One theme has been a design which is carried across a series of disconnected paintings. For instance a three-part work of 1974 (FRAC, Burgundy) is entitled Horizontal Line Passing Through Three Squares. Morellet has also made works in neon. Homage to Lamour (2002) is on the exterior of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nancy and in its elaborate curves is a tribute to the designer of the famous iron gates of that city. In spite of the logical system behind Morellet's work he has confessed that his abstract ideal has always been tempered by the ‘charming nihilism’ of Duchamp.
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy, François Morellet (2003)