Reference Entry

Humair, Daniel

in Benezit Dictionary of Artists

ISBN: 9780199773787
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199899913 | DOI:
Humair, Daniel

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Swiss, 20th century, male.

Active in France.

Born 23 May 1938, in Geneva.


All three strands of Humair's career (as a well-known jazz drummer, as a musical animateur at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, and as a painter) are tied together by music. The rhythm and spirit of freedom found in jazz can also be found in his paintings, rendered in spatial terms. During his various travels as a musician, he works on paper; this work is subsequently stuck to canvas. His painting is close in spirit to that of the artists of the CoBrA group, and he is inspired by the moment and the automatic nature of what results. As he has said: 'I never throw anything away.' Through his non-figurative compositions, which are generally lively and brightly coloured (though occasionally rendered in more muted and serious tones), Humair conjures up the fluidity of musical expression with sequences of multi-coloured ovoid forms that float on and punctuate neutral grounds. His painting has the spontaneity of graffiti, and the sensuality of his colours-as-subject-matter is indicative of his technical command. As in jazz, serial repetition of a riff forms the basis of an endless series of improvised variations....

Reference Entry.  365 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Painting ; 20th-Century Art

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