Blurry Series (2009-2013)

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October 15, 2010, a blue annex in the middle of the garden, at Broca Hospital, during a memory consultation with Dr. Seux: Rozen must complete a questionnaire. He doesn’t have his glasses. The boxes are checked in his place. At the end, he asks for a pen and adds at the bottom of the page, “I’m an artist, nothing is final.”

Winter 2012, an exhibition devoted to Soutine, at the Orangerie Museum, in Paris: A snowy day. The Eiffel Tower in the distance. Place de la Concorde, hidden under the mist. “Like me and my painting, right now. Transparent…”

August 2013, at Les Abondances gerontology center, in Boulogne-Billancourt. Addressing one of his children:

“I must go.”
“I have an appointment.”
“With whom?”
“With time.”

Felix Rozen died on October 6, 2013.

Pyrocera (1993-2000)

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“Felix Rozen is an ethnologist specialized in civilizations that never existed,”

Hélène Saint-Riquier wrote in Ouest-France, in 2004, on the occasion of a personal exhibition by Rozen at the Convention and Cultural Center of Le Mans.

To bring a possible language to the indecipherable, to inscribe the smallest of echoes in the immense score of the world, Felix Rozen has consistently devoted himself to the most diverse, the most emblematic experiments — notably those baptized by him as engraving or pyrocera painting — which constitute an unprecedented combination of techniques and materials: from metal engraving to the use of wax, submitted for the final touch to the flame of a torch. From predictable clashes between universal contrasts, the cold and the hot, the hard and the malleable, a work is born in the hands of an artist ready to go as far as burning [it] so it may exist.

Nicole Ambourg, documentation curator at the Musée des Années 30, in the context of the exhibition “Jean Lambert-Rucki and Felix Rozen, Expressionism — Between Representation and Abstraction,” late 2004-early 2005.

For Felix Rozen

The sun
doesnt know
the night
is about
to respond
but painters
with suns

Pierre Béarn

Letters to Paul Klee (2003-2006)

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This painting is meant to be listened to. It echoes an entire life experience, not so as to forget the loss of music-loving parents or that of an older brother, killed on the Belarusian front and all the vicissitudes of an eventful youth between Russia and Poland in a climate of political and religious unrest, but to build, from the moment of his arrival in Paris in 1966, a future based on talent and work. As Marcelin Pleynet points out, Rozen’s work is no longer frontal nor even three-dimensional; it is situated in its relationship to music, in a movement or rather an inner impetus that institutes it in [the prospect of] “entering a frame.”

Jean-François Jaeger, catalog of the exhibition “Letters to Paul Klee (25 paintings on Japanese paper),” at the Jeanne Bucher Gallery, in 2006.

This is Not a Cross (1991)

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On the occasion of a solo show at the Abbey of Trizay in 2006, Gérard Sourd wrote:

I imagine that many artists would feel blessed at the prospect of an exhibition in a Benedictine abbey of the 11th-12th century (…). The paintings and sculptures [of Rozen] gathered in Trizay have nothing to prove; they provide no key, are of no help, at least explicitly. They therefore do not compete with the spirit of the place, do not contradict it, nor seek to make an ally of it. These paintings, these engravings, are the sincere testimony, far from any anecdote, of a human journey inscribed in an immemorial history. They transmit an offer of brotherhood, a proposal of hope. To penetrate their meaning, we must approach them with a child’s gaze, much as we require a child’s gaze to participate in the disembodied flight of architecture.

Tokyo Series (1985-1990)

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On December 30, 1982, Yusaku Masuda, director of Atelier MMG in Tokyo, an associate of the printer-publisher Mourlot-Paris, wrote in French:

Dear Mr. Rozen,

My many daily activities did not permit me to write to you as quickly as I would have liked.
Was your exhibition in Copenhagen a true success? What was the result?
Do you remember talking to me about the work space exchange between us? I’ve been thinking about your proposal ever since I got back to Japan.
I attended a gathering at my friend’s house the day before yesterday and she introduced me to the painter Mr. Masataka TORÏ, who is sixty-seven years old and lives in the Tokyo area. He is in good shape for his age, but nice.
I told him about you, and he accepted your proposal in principle. He told me he can trade his workshop with you (…) for free, but you have to pay for gas, electricity, heating and water. I think these terms are not bad.
If you accept this counter proposal, I ask you to inform me of your precise terms and to send me as soon as possible the floor plan of your workshop with the kitchen and the bathroom.
While waiting for your answer, I ask you to believe, dear sir, in my faithful sentiments.

Y. Masuda


Felix Rozen arrived in Tokyo on the last day of 1984. He spent several months there. This stay continued to inspire him for a long time. All in all, he produced a series of 80 or so large format works executed on Japanese paper.

New York Series (1980-1984)

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Letter from the painter Pierre Soulages addressed to the General Directorate of Cultural and Scientific Relations of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs on March 5, 1980:

Dear Director,

Felix Rozen tells me that he is applying for a fellowship in the United States.
I have known him and held him in high esteem for several years and I am sure that a stay in this country in contact with museums and artistic life would be very beneficial and would promote the development of his work.
Please believe, sir, in the assurance of my distinguished sentiments.

[handwritten signature of Pierre Soulages]


Letter from the New York gallery owner André Emmerich to Serge François of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs on April 2, 1980:

Dear Mr. François,

I am happy to have the opportunity to write to you in support of Felix Rozen’s application for a grant which would allow him to live in the city for one year.
I am enormously impressed with the work of Felix Rozen as well as with the quality of the man. I’m particularly struck by what seems to me to be a truly international caliber in Mr. Rozen’s work. Of all the many artists whose work I see and have seen over the years, he seems to me an exceptionally worthy candidate for such a grant (…).

Sincerely yours,
André Emmerich,
Past President of the Art Dealers Association of America.


In 1979-80, Rozen visited New York twice. He spent many weeks in room 317 of the Chelsea Hotel. The configuration of the space pushed him to paint on long horizontal bands that respond to the verticality of the city.

Maximal Art (1977-1979)

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Felix Rozen’s painting moves. In every sense (of the term and the picture), in time and in space. What a rapid evolution since the more explicit violence of 1974! Now, signs and marks multiply, cross-split, swarm but are organized as if they were maneuvered by invisible magnetic fields, with a preference for vertical and parallel bands. Hence that music-like shimmer produced by the interweaving of so many polychrome mini-elements. In this regard, the onlooker will warm to Maximal Art among several other large triptychs, or the Giant Palimpsest, which, according to the author perhaps, no title being random, is heading toward a form of oriental calligraphy. Could the goal of this feverish impatience be to achieve the Transequilibrium which Christian Dotremont credited him with? Let us cast aside any attempt at glossarial conjectures and be content with the current result: beautiful works whose substance we shall never exhaust.

Jean-Marie Dunoyer, “From Everywhere and Elsewhere”, Le Monde, May 1979.

Unlike his friend Marfaing, who advised him to “simplify, simplify…” Rozen, by his own admission, “complicated, complicated….” For him, art cannot pass through the prism of a gaze other than his own, however benevolent: it is above all, as we can but guess, an identity journey, a means of uncovering an existential space befitting his sense of scale. In this perspective, Rozen does not make art to be recognized, but to discover himself, and open up.

Gérard Sourd, Nouvelles de l’estampe, March 1995.

Dear Pig[sty] (1975-1977)

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During the 1960s, a whole wave of artists hailing from Central Europe came to France, attracted by the legend of the Impressionists and the School of Paris.
The expressionist approach of these brothers-in-exile seemed almost heavy in the eyes of the Parisian art scene. Heavy, as in too charged with emotions… compared to the conceptual art and the French gestural painting of the moment, themselves influenced by XXL New York formats.
But, since the great geopolitical upheavals, accelerated by the fall of the Berlin Wall, these artists have become the sole custodians of an experience that the Western collective consciousness has appropriated…
They have lived at the intersection of events which Westerners can only ponder over, or discuss when taking part in TV talk shows.
Their expressionism is now taking on its full meaning, the expression ‘delayed reaction’ springs to mind.

Georgina Oliver, “Fragments of Ideas… (Before the Fall of the Wall),” 1996.

The Ancestors (1973-1975)

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I met Rozen at Royaumont Abbey about ten years ago. At the time, he was expressing himself in a very realistic way, as a teenager who was not afraid to open doors. [Today, at] 36, he does not yet know where he is going, but he knows that he has taken hold of life and that he can dispose of it as a sower in multiple fields of expression ….

Pierre Béarn, poet, text for the exhibition “ROZEN” at the Simone Badinier Gallery, 1974.

Rozen, “a painter who dares to incorporate himself in his painting, who does not fear to overload it with feeling, passion, love, anguish, pain, dreams.”

Gilles Plazy, “Rozen and Freedom,” Le Quotidien de Paris, June 1975.