Art criticism, tribute

1995, Pierre Bernotte additive color synthesis

During his last exhibition in March 1995 at the Orangery of the Bishop's Museum in Limoges, Pierre Bernotte presented his works produced in white on white.


Acrylic and paper on canvas
Acrylic and paper on canvas

These paintings illustrate the different aspects of light, which at times illuminates Humanity.

The immaterial:

It is the light of day, the transparency which gives their colors to all things, but also the white which is the sum of all the colors.


The material:

It is the light of the torch, of the oil lamp, which in the Neolithic era gave body to the shadows and invented the Image whose meaning prehistoric man engraved on the rock.

The spiritual:

It is the light of intelligence, by the invention in the Sumerian cities of the alphabetical writing which, since those ancient times, has spread throughout the whole world, and has become the vehicle of all languages and of thought. .

This is how the subject of these paintings became the reminder of the old signs and the celebration of the mythical hero Gilgamesh, both god and man, before and after the flood, of which the epic was the first book written and the most diffused of ancient literature.

Translated from the Sargonian into Hittite, into Hourrite, read in Assur, in Anatolia, in Palestine, it is the first great book of the deluge and of the human condition.


Laurent Cadeau

President of Maecene Arts

The Mona and the self-portrait of Bernotte

A portrait of a woman by Pierre Bernotte highlighted after the auction of the Vasarely Foundation.

The codes of Leonardo da Vinci are there, we had them before our eyes.

The bust positioned three-quarters, pointing its gaze towards the viewer, has a mirror effect.

The oval of the face is actually turned slightly to the right in relation to the Mona Lisa.

By detailing the drawing, we find the drape of the garment, the veil, the curly hair with a parting, the eyebrows, the eyes, the nose and the half smile… everything is there.

A happy woman who can only be compared to Marie-Therese Bernotte, his wife, a beautiful tribute 500 years later.


3 other portraits were discovered from 1950, 1960 and 1970.

As a surveyor of time and space, Pierre Bernotte was a humanist eager for encounters and sharing.

He liked to welcome curious people and collectors to his Limoges workshop.

I spent hours there chatting with him and discovering the multitude of his work.

"Work, work, work, draw, draw a lot," he said.

“I work on the very subject of painting, what is painting if not trying to install an ephemeral time in a space."


I have always regretted not having known this lover of life that was Bernotte earlier.


One cannot evoke the portraits of his wife without looking for self-portraits of the artist.

Oil on canvas 1960
Oil on canvas 1960

I had already identified some drawings but it was not until 2022 that a self-portrait dating from the 1960s was found.


I very quickly compared it to two photos of Pierre Bernotte. 

Long hair in 1949 with his stone heads and an improvised puppet on his boat in La Rochelle in September 1992. 


A dynamic combination in the composition of the canvas between the game and the creativity of the artist, between the movements of the brush and the explosion of colors.

Laurent Cadeau

The tarot of Pierre Bernotte

A card game that reminds us that during the darkest moments of the war, even in the worst dictatorships, it was essential to come together around a card game. Eyes could then still meet around a table to talk about the absurdity of war, to play, to dream. Bernotte, like many Surrealists at the time, created this card game, a tarot out of his imagination.

"So let's play! said Breton to stand up, to dream of the world between friends around emblems such as the flame of love, the star of dreams, the wheel of revolution, the lock of knowledge. The means are rudimentary, the drawings sketched, the cards are used because they have lived, they have been touched, exchanged.


There was no loser recalled Eluard. Let us not forget those moments of essential humanity which for the first time in history are confiscated from us by the authorities.


Marie-Helene Barreau Montbazet

Vice-president of Maecene Arts

Doctor of Art History

The Rakus of Pierre Bernotte

Each artist has one day expressed his art with ceramics, two examples 50 years apart, Pierre Bernotte and Florian Eymann, the parallel was essential.