Pierre Skira was born in Paris in 1938, to the great publisher, Albert Skira. The declaration of war a year after his birth forced a move to the Alps, and then, for a time, to Geneva. His childhood was peripatetic, but gave him an introduction to the giants of art at that time; most memorably, he watched Matisse make his paper cut-outs, and stayed with Picasso for a week in the south of France. In 1954, Skira became a typographical apprentice in a Swiss workshop, which gave him a love of books that he later expressed in his paintings and pastels. Two years later, Skira moved to Paris, where he lived within a community of like-minded creatives, and started to paint, influenced by artists such as Franz Kline, Emilio Vedova, and Piet Mondrian. However, he soon abandoned an early interest in abstraction and moved to figuration. He was particularly drawn to painting detailed studies of books in the manner of 17th century art. Skira exhibited for the first time in 1962, Paris, and a solo show was staged two years later, at the time of the emergence of New Figuration. In 1967, he won the Prix de la Biennale de Paris. In 1975, Skira switched from working in oil to high-quality pastels, primarily those made by Roché. Examples of this work have been shown in solo exhibitions across Europe, and most recently at the Redfern Gallery in 2016 and 2019. He has collaborated with prominent philosophers and writers, such as Pascal Quignard, Jean-François Lyotard, Patrick Mauriès and Gérard Macé. Skira’s work is held in many important public collections, including the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, and the Palais de l’Élysée. 

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Pierre Skira

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