Selected by Jonathan Dodd

GEORGES FOLMER, Construction spatiale: Mais chez qui du rêve se dore, c. 1949


This week we are pleased to feature one of George Folmer’s very rare painted wood constructions. Mostly created between 1945 and 1950, these ‘bois polychromes’ or ‘constructions spatiales’ were identified by Serge Lemoine, former President of the Musée d’Orsay, as ground-breaking artworks that are among the very earliest of their kind in the history of art. Folmer himself said of them that “they are neither sculpted, nor modelled by hand.” They are constructions: conceived by volume more than surface with the emphasis on the weight of the piece, designed with detailed drawings, carved and painted as individual pieces, and then, finally, assembled.


The creative process was a curiously contemporary one, initially dictated by the shortage of materials in the immediate aftermath of the war. Folmer would go scavenging in the area now occupied by the Péripherique, the ring road that surrounds central Paris, picking up discarded pieces of wood mainly from splintered railway sleepers. Shapes would suggest themselves and would be re-envisaged into architectural wholes. Meticulous drawings would be made, shapes re-carved and the individual elements painted according to designs, and then those elements would be put together like an Ikea kit.


GEORGES FOLMER (French, 1895-1977)

Construction spatiale: Mais chez qui du rêve se dore, c. 1949

Oil on wood construction  29 x 8 x 4.5 in / 73 x 20 x 11.5 cm

Signed under the base with Greek letter “phi” and studio stamp



Direct from the estate of the artist



Paris, Galerie Colette Allendy, 1951

Pontoise, Musée de la Ville de Pontoise, 1988

Chabeuil-Valence, Espace Oroeil, 1993

Nancy, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Folmer et l’abstraction géométrique, 1993, cat no.83, illus. p.120

Rennes, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Georges Folmer, 2010, illus. p.98

Vulaines-sur-Seine, Musée départemental Stéphane Mallarmé, Georges Folmer, peintre mallarméen, 2013, illus. p.28



Carine Florentin, Georges Folmer (1895-1977) Catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre peint et sculpté, Paris, 1997, Vol.III, no.7C

Georges Folmer (1895-1977): Catalogue raisonné, Comité Georges Folmer, Paris, Illustria Librairie des Musées, 2015, cat no.472, illus. p.209

October 19, 2020