For child of the 1950′s (born in 1954), that decade in the UK appeared to be a one of austerity and powdered milk in tins. Europe was recovering from the aftermath of the Second World War, while America was doing well, with many artists and architects having moved there from Europe; meanwhile Cuba was still the playground of the rich, famous and corrupt – until 1959.
Paris, however, was about to find a new artistic life. With its traditional role as a centre as a centre for art and artists having been put on hold during the Second World War, things began to pick up in the 1950′s and 1960′s as artists such as Sam Francis from the USA set up studios in Paris, and artists, poets, writers and philosophers returned to the city to recreate the artistic heart which had been lost during the dark years.
Un Art Autre at the Levy Gorvy gallery in London is a splendid exhibition which brings together some of the best works from the unknown era of the 1950′, focussed on abstraction, works which remain under-appreciated. but which in many ways established the foundations of contemporary art in the late 20th century in Europe and the USA.