French painter, engraver and sculptor who was a leading member of Art Informel and European Abstract Expressionist movements. After serving in World War II, he became known for his wholly abstract canvases with overlapping black, barlike strokes on glowing white, or sometimes colored, grounds. He rejected bright color in favor of black which set him apart from the major trends in French abstract painting of the time. Though superficially similar to the work of Abstract Expressionist artists such as Franz Kline whom he allegedly inspired, his paintings are different in execution: in contrast to the gestural approach of his American counterparts, he intentionally constructed his compositions to create a formal balance. He is the first living artist invited to exhibit at the state Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg. A major retrospective of his art was held at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2010. He currently lives in Paris and Sète, in southern France.