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 Foni Tissen (1909-1975)
2009 marks the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Luxembourgish artist Foni Tissen.
european institute of cultural routes
Michel Thomas-Penette
18 October 2009

The National Museum of History and Art joins in the celebrations by organising a large exhibition on this amazing artist with surrealist tendencies who influenced artistic life in Luxembourg of the mid-twentieth century.

If he is best known in Luxembourg for his drawings of little men (“Maennerscher�), his stamps and, most of all, for his logo for the emergency services, the rest of his work is much richer and highly colourful. A versatile artist, he expressed his talent in a number of ways, including paintings, drawings, engravings, posters, stained-glass windows, mosaics, ceramics and frescos.

The exhibition at the National Museum of History and Art presents the different facets of his creativity through an exhaustive selection of his works, with an emphasis on his surrealist phase.

Born in Rumelange, Foni Tissen travelled around the world for several years, a witness of his time. His strong personality nonetheless makes him the main subject of his work.

The exhibition starts by presenting the life of the artist through his self-portraits, his artistic training and the members of his family. Like a mirror, his entire oeuvre reflects his personal life, marked by extreme events.

In the first part the exhibition also presents the public with an insight into his commitment to spreading art to all parts of society through the applied arts to, in his words, “elevate the spirit of man�. His stamps and posters as well as the logo for the emergency services have thus retained their place in the collective memory of Luxembourg. His attachment to his native town in the Red Rocks region and the world of the working class is also visible in his numerous landscapes and engravings.

The central section of the exhibition mainly consists of the most original part of his work, his “Maennerscher�. Most of these canvases featuring human figures are fairly faithful variations of his self-portrait (his preferred model, being patient and indulgent!). His critical mind regarding himself and the world around him also finds its full expression in this human one-man comedy. It is for the spectator to decipher the different symbols in order to fully understand the scope of his imagination.

Foni Tissen’s oeuvre allows us to come together around an exceptional Luxembourgish artist to celebrate, according to him, through his creation his search for “the truth which is beauty and sincerity�.

Guided visits
Thursdays: 6pm (L/D)
Saturdays: 3pm (F)
Sundays: 3pm (L)
Tuesdays: 12:30 “Musée du jour� (½ hr) Visit with variable subject, organised as part of the common initiative of the “stater muséeën�. Admission fee payable, free guided tour.
What ?
When ?
from 06/10/2009 to 10/01/2010
By whom ?
Musée National d'Histoire et d'Art
2345 Luxembourg
00 352 47 93 30 - 1
00 352 47 93 30-271

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