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Livre Brûlé: Il Figliol Prodigo [The Prodigal Son]



In 1957, Bernard Aubertin met Yves Klein. Klein inspired Aubertin to concentrate his work on a single color, just as Klein did. Aubertin chose red. For Aubertin, red simultaneously symbolizes fire and blood while at the same time creates a sort of anonymity, blankness, depersonalization. Not long after meeting Klein, Aubertin began to participate in the Dusseldorf Zero Group, a movement that sought to foster artistic discovery by promoting a new environment unconstrained by past artistic traditions. The “zero” in the name was intended to highlight the group’s affinities with Minimalism and Italian Arte Povera in calling for simple forms and colors and expressions of light and using everyday materials. This sentiment is plainly reflected in the monochrome red panels that Aubertin began to create. For him, the color red—a symbol of fire—led him to begin to arrange matches on canvased he had painted red, and then set them alight. Late in his career he evolved to apply flame to books, creating his “livre brûlé” works. Like his match works, each item set on fire creates unique artistic compositions. The art thus created expresses a transformation; the disruptive force of fire becomes a force of rebirth.

Additional information


Drawing on paper, Painting, Pen and Ink on Paper


Signing, Dating, and Titling



Excellent Condition




Burned Paper Mounted to Painted Plywood.
Signed in marker, en verso.
This work is framed in a solid black-painted Maple box and protected with low-reflecting Museum glass. The framing has been designed to be disassembled from time-to-time if warranted so that any dust falling from the work—which by its very nature will degrade and change over time—can be removed by professional hands if desired.
Excellent condition, consistent with the nature of the work.
Framed Size:
17 in. (h) x 21 in. (w) x 2.75 in. (d)
Work Size:
16 in. (h) x 20 in. (w) x 2 in. (d)
From a Private Collector, California | RagoWright | thence to Washington Color.
This work has been catalogued as No. LBR90-1000249723 by the Archivio Opere Bernard Aubertin.

Price & Purchase