One is straight away struck by the paucity of words availed to expound this chanced-upon poiesis born in the crevasses of cultural hybridity and nourished in the no man's lands of ascetic transmutation...

Pound, Laubies, Alvard, Facchetti

1. Someone had written me inquiring about the Colonial French nonfigurative painter Rene Laubies who presumably passed away sometime at the end of 2006 on the Malabar Coast of southern India. The question concerned Rene's translation of the The Cantos by Ezra Pound.

Yes, Rene Laubies is also esteemed as the first translator of Ezra Pound's work into French. In 1983, in Puri (Orissa), Rene related the events to me personally. It was after consulting with Pound himself that Rene decided to translate a "selection" of Cantos. This was back in the early 1950s during that scandalous twelve-year period from 1946 to 1958 when Pound was incarcerated at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washinton D.C., a Federal mental institution. In the 1950s, Rene was also living in the United States in close association with Black Mountain Collage, a place that attracted many of the 20th century's most influential artists. He also taught a stint at the University Alabama, 1956-57. Thus Rene was repeatedly able to meet and consult with Pound who closely mentored the project throughout. I was kindly gifted an original copy by Yannick Tourainne. It is cataloged in French as Cantos et poèmes choisis / Ezra Pound; traduction de Rene Laubies, Paris: P.J. Oswald, 1958. 77 p.

2. Of immense importance to Rene's career is Julien Alvard (d. 1974) who initially launched a modern art movement that he baptised « nuagisme », as based on the paintings of Rene Laubies, Frédéric Benrath, René Duvillier, Fernando Lerin, et al. This important young emerging body of work had first been shown at the Paris gallery of Paul Facchetti, who was remarkably also the first to have exposed Jackson Pollock in France. Some important 50s period details have recently been published by Guy Cloutier (2007). These relate to the Cochin-china-born Laubies's natural affinity to ancient Chinese landscape painting and the assimilation into his practice of its discursive relation between the void and the full, its frontal perspective, non-theatricality, and pervading atmospheric evocation of an ontological allusiveness.

Interrogé par Gérard Xuriguera (Les Années 50, éditions Arted), Laubiès dit lui avoir fait découvrir la peinture chinoise ancienne, "le vide et le plein, la frontalité, l'absence complète de l'expression et du théâtre, l'atmosphère, le suggéré, l'allusif". Des termes qui s'appliquent aussi à son propre travail. Sur ces bases, Alvard lance un mouvement baptisé "nuagisme", d'abord recueilli par la galerie de Paul Facchetti, le premier à avoir exposé Pollock en France (Cloutier).
In a 1954 Paris group photo (here) we see Paul Facchetti and Rene Laubies stainding second and third from the left, respectively. The now retired Facchetti was himself an established painter and photographer of some importantc and figures in the following set of images.

Question: Does anyone have any clear idea on how to contact Paul Facchetti? (Though the fact that the man was born in 1912 might be a hint.)

3. We find it quite inexplicable that after nearly six month we have not been able to gain direct communication with a single person who knew Rene Lobbies—particularly those who were with Rene in Paris just prior to his final departure for India, presumably late October 2006.

See also

Fautrier, Seibel, Facchetti, Le Noci, Magliano
Assembling notes around Paul Facchetti