The Collection

Home Page > Works > Les petits pois sont verts... les petits poissons rouges...

Les petits pois sont verts... les petits poissons rouges...



By (artist) Yves Laloy


Painting exhibited at the gallery L'Oeil for the 1965 "L'Écart Absolu, 11th International Exhibition of Surrealism"

"On October 7th, 1958, the Parisian gallery La Cour d'Ingre, 17a quay Voltaire, presents an artist barely known in the art world and unknown to the greater public: Yves Laloy. The show is entirely devoted to this artist, with thirty of his works in the gallery and André Breton writing the introduction to his catalogue." Suzanne Duco-Nouhaud (L’apport du surrealism chez Yves Laloy (1920-1999), Symbolisme et magie picturale, Mémoie de D.E.A., History of Contemporary Art, edited by Professor Serge Lemoine, volume I, Paris, Université Paris IV, p. 7).

This introduction also appears in the 1965 edition of Le Surréalisme et la peinture, whose jacket is illustrated by the "unedited composition" version of Les petits pois sont verts…les petits poisons rouges… (André Breton, Le surréalism et la peinture, newly revised edition, 1928-1965, Paris, Gallimard, 1965, p. 424):

"Foremost among Yves Laloy’s work is L’arc-en-ciel à tête humaine, which relates to the admirable sand paintings of the Navajo Indians, made in a day and unmade at nightfall. It is marvelous that despite their inevitable and prompt dispersion, they can be recovered today in Laloy’s work. He teaches the eye to enjoy the power of ambiguity. For a long time, we tried to put the world in order by training the eye to recognize only the external world, or at least to draw all its references from that world (with the exception of the Gaul, in the far Northwest). Only quite recently did we begin to shake off this servitude and move from physical perception to mental representation, at least in the realm of abstract art. The artist faces severe new risks and frustrations. The plenitude to be regained combined with the need to use all the eye’s resources demands the secular equivalent of the simultaneously imaginative and sensorial vision of a Theresa of Avilla, who Yves Laloy revered.

Whereas Kandinsky’s composition answers his symphonic ambitions, a Navajo sand painting pertains above all to cosmogony and aims to initiate influence on the course of the universe. Yves Laloy’s work combines these two so distinctive approaches. It recounts a route whose key he keeps secret, yet which clearly transcends the ordinary. It provides the relations of the cosmos and the human soul with a glittering, magnetic helmet. Its irresistible rhythm, the source of its development and its punch, immediately imposes the work’s grandeur.
Never before it been so well and carefully verified that 'the aesthetic space must simultaneously reflect our mathematical conception of the laws of physics and the order of sentimental values that we would like to see triumph’ Pierre Francastel (Peinture et société, Audin ed., 1951).

Yves Leloy comes from a family of architects, and his dissidence bursts from within the framework of architecture. Beneath the starry sparkle of each of his paintings, you can make out a blueprint assigning the dimensions of the planned structure. There is just one, assuredly major, difference: the construction takes place not in the exterior world, but in the interior one. Anyone who reflects on the idea will agree that such a construction requires a clear-sightedness far beyond the norm in an era when our interior cities, already shaky on their ancient foundations, are constantly under attack.

Only a loner would take such a risk. Such apprehension of the world opens luminous windows into the unknown, but it must be the fruit of the drama of acuity. Let me, then, describe Yves Laloy by invoking his great compatriot Jules Lequier’s last known writing: "I see an arid country. In the middle of the country, interred in stones and pebbles, I see a solitary pine. It is whipped by the wind, by the wind from the sea…its head is bent, its trunk is rough, but a rare and precious resin flows from the bark…the resin gives off a phosphorescent glow and a whitish smoke. I must take its resin and mold it into light…I see a drop of phosphor on the farthest branch. The drop of phosphore falls and in its place I see a drop of blood…the drop of blood will fall if the tree sways forward; it won’t fall if it sways back. I must tell the tree to sway its…" Jules Lequier (Oeuvres complèts published by Jean Grenier, Ed. De la Baconnière, Neuchâtel, 1952). Lequier’s message ends suspended.

At times, the kind of ultra-world revealed by Yves Laloy’s geometric paintings gives way to a sub-world. It is the other pole of the battery, but no less his own and no less valuable. In this sub-world, squid-like hybrid beings start trains of ripples that reanimate the stone-carved waves of Gavrinis.

He explored these two worlds, through great risks and perils, to their furthest borders. Any one of Yves Laloy’s monumental works makes me exclaim: At last, a celebration!" André Breton (Yves Laloy, Paris, Galerie La cour d’Ingres, 1958, s.p.)


- Paris, Galerie de l'œil, L'écart absolu, XIe Exposition internationale du Surréalisme (générique par André Breton), 1965, n° 54


- André Breton, Le surréalisme et la peinture, Nouvelle édition revue et corrigée, 1928-1965, Paris, Gallimard, 1965, rep. jaquette, p. 424
- Suzanne Duco-Nouhaud, L'apport du surréalisme chez Yves Laloy (1920-1999), Symbolisme et magie picturale, Mémoire de D.E.A., Histoire de l'Art Contemporain, sous la direction du Professeur Serge Lemoine, volume I et II, Paris, Université Paris IV, 2000, rep. planche n° 2, pp.7-24, document n° 10, 13, 19

Creation datesd [1960]
Date of publication 1960
Physical description60 x 92 cm (23 5/8 x 36 1/4 in.) - Huile sur toile

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes : 2003.6.1

Method of acquisition and collectionMusée de Rennes, don Aube et Oona Elléouët, 2003.
Size60,00 x 92,00 cm
Copyright© ADAGP, Paris, 2005.
Breton Auction, 2003Lot 4005
CategoriesModern Paintings
Set[Exhibitions] 1965-1966, L'écart absolu
ExhibitionL'Écart absolu, 1965
Permanent link
Exhibition place