Pierre Soulages (born December 24, 1919) is a French painter, engraver and sculptor.
Born in Rodez (Aveyron) in 1919, Soulages is also known as "the painter of black" because of his interest in the colour ("Both a colour and a non-colour. When light is reflected on black, it transforms and transmutes it. It opens up a mental field all of its own."). He sees light as a matter to work with; striating the black surface of his paintings enables him to make the light reflect, allowing the black to come out from darkness and into brightness, thereby becoming a luminous colour.
Before World War II, Soulages had already toured museums in Paris seeking his vocation, and after wartime military service, he opened a studio in Paris, holding his first exhibition at the Salon des Indépendants in 1947. He also worked as a designer of stage sets.
In 1979 Pierre Soulages was made a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
From 1987 to 1994, he produced 104 stained glass windows for the romanesque Abbey church Sainte-Foy in Conques (Aveyron, France).
He is the first living artist invited to exhibit at the state Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg, and then with the Tretyakov Gallery of Moscow (2001).
In 2006, a composition of 1959 is sold 1.200.000 euros at Sotheby's.
In 2007, the Musée Fabre of Montpellier devoted a room to him, presenting his donation given at the city. This donation includes 20 paintings from 1951 to 2006 among which major works from the 1960s, two large plus-black works from the 1970s and several large polyptychs.