Peoples beset by hordes of invaders take to in accessible mountains; later, when peace is restored, they come down again into the plains, bringing back with them the traditions. Fleeing from abstraction, the image has taken refuge on the unreal peaks of the imagination, where the Surrealists watch over it. Some day, it will perhaps find Its way down again into reality. And among those who will have made this perilous descent easier, Jacques Hérold will occupy a choice place.
Born at Piatra, in Roumania, in 1910, he arrived in Paris in 1930. Here, he was submitted to the influence of Andre Breton. Whatever his later changes, he will remain one of those painters for whom poetry is essential an affinity instanced by his illustrations for the works of Francis Ponge, Julien Gracq, and the Marquis de Sade. He himself is the author of a Mistreatise of Painting where metaphor sharpens into maxim. Unlike the Surrealists, however, he does not look for strangeness elsewhere than in things, but in things. All that is needed is to strip them of their banal envelope. Herold skins objects, creatures, even the air around us. At once are revealed mysterious microcosms where crystals gravitate. Crystals and gravitation, perfection and motion, violence and elegance: in their alliance lies Herold's personality.
In recent years, a kind of fermentation gradually permeates his work. The precise line has given way to broad strokes, the brush has taken over from the pen. It is like a passing from the mineral to the vegetable kingdom. The crystal turns into seed, and the seed germinates, swells, explodes, is lavished. Its en-counter with a temperament keenly aware of purely pictorial categories space, light has led the fantastic image back to earth, and both are fecundated.