François Stahly


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French sculptor. Born in Konstanz, Germany, he moved to Paris in 1931, studying at the Académie Ranson. In 1939 he showed at the ‘Témoignage’ exhibition in Paris. This was a group formed in Lyon in 1936 by the art dealer, poet, and anarchist Marcel Michaud which rejected materialism and sought to reinject art with the ‘spirituality lost since the Renaissance replaced the myth of God with that of Man’. Stahly remained attracted to secret rites and pagan cults. During the years of occupation he made abstract wood sculptures in secret, and later work in bronze or stone such as Serpent de Feu (1956) retains the forms of knotted wood. Like Richier he explored metamorphosis between the inanimate and animate: a bird and a tree trunk become fused in his drawing Portrait de l'oiseau qui n'existe pas (pas encore!) (1980, Pompidou Centre). In the 1970s he made more block-like sculptures in terracotta. He died in Meudon.

Subjects: Art.

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