Skip to main content

●rbis pictus, a young Parisian gallery, opened its doors on October 18th 2019, right next to the Picasso Museum.
International and committed in its choices, the gallery chooses to exhibit modern and contemporary artists whose work resonates with the major issues of our world. Its motto is contemporary art that can designate, draw and sign what matters to us and our mark on the planet.
Housed within the walls of the former Thessa Herold gallery, the gallery will alternate exhibitions of art that is engaged in the current sense (critical or satirical), new modern dialogues and resolutely contemporary forays.

Orbis (sensualium) pictus /The Visible World in Pictures/ is the title of the work by Czech humanist Jan Amos Comenius or Komenský (1592-1670), which inspired the name of our gallery. Drafted in 1653-1654 and published in 1658, shortly after the end of the Thirty Years’ War – the first major European war to devastate Central Europe – this text was subsequently reprinted in most European languages until the 20th century. It provided a pictorial view of the 17th-century world, innovating a new pedagogy that relied more on observation than memory. The book was inspired by the profession of faith of this great figure, who was at once a European pedagogue, the last bishop of the Czech Unity of the Brethren, a patriot who pleaded in vain for the independence of the Czech state – lost in the 1620s – and an icon of exile: Absit violentia rebus – omnia sponte fluant / Let violence in all things be absent – let all things flow freely.

¹ A Church created in several stages as one of the movements that emerged from the Hussite movement of 1419-1434. This church provided a significant number of Czech intellectuals and codifiers of the Czech language in the 16th century. One of its branches found refuge in North America after the banning and expulsion of Protestants from the Habsburg states.

The world, images and the arts: this triptych is the raison d’être of the Orbis pictus gallery, founded in 2019 by the Prague-based Pro Arte fund and housed in the walls of the former Thessa Herold gallery, near the Musée Picasso in the heart of the Marais district. It’s no coincidence that the opening exhibition was devoted to the “regard croisé” between Henri Michaux and Joseph Šíma, two “foreign” artists whom this prestigious Parisian gallery had defended and presented independently on several occasions, here finally reunited.

The world: Orbis pictus is resolutely open to all parts of the globe. A Europe conceived in all its variety and breadth (without forgetting, of course, Central Europe and its Czech component), an Africa so rich in new talent whose power has been undeniable since the Cubist revelation, an Asia that itself offers astonishing reflections and contrasts with other regions of the world, the Americas, particularly Latin America.

The image: it is essentially through confrontations between artists from different universes that the gallery aims to illuminate and explain the worlds that surround us.

The arts: it’s in their diversity that we must approach them, to show the beauty of our contemporary world without hiding its horrors. Painting in all its forms, as well as drawing, engraving and photography, have given rise to 14 exhibitions since the creation of Orbis pictus.

While the dimension of art as heritage is not neglected, Orbis pictus is above all intended to make room for today’s artists, both well-known and little-known, all of whom have in common their curiosity about the world and their desire to translate this curiosity into art.