The French painter, commercial designer and sculptor, Pierre Soulages visited Paris for the first time in 1938. He went to the Louvre and saw Cézanne and Picasso exhibitions. He studied at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, but was very disappointed with what was taught there and returned to his home town of Rodez. In 1941 he continued his studies in Montpellier, where he came into contact with Abstractionism through his friendship with Sonia Delaunay. In 1946, he moved to the Paris suburbs and, in 1947, the year in which he opened his own studio, he began to paint in an essentially abstract style. It was at this time that he met Picabia, Hartung and Léger. This period also marked the beginning of his career as a painter. The audacious and gestural character of his paintings has generally linked him to the Abstract Expressionism of artists such as Franz Kline. The similarity, however, is only superficial. He has never given titles to his paintings, identifying them only through their date of completion. In 1979, his work changed fundamentally when he began to concentrate on large paintings. The effect is achieved through strong contrasts in texture, rhythm and the direction of the brushstrokes. His work includes many lithographs, aquatints and bronzes.