Date(s) - February 8, 2020 - September 27, 2020
10:00 am - 6:00 pm


Self-portrait, ca. 1965, oil on board, 27 1/2 x 14 3/16 in., gift of Martha Randoph Daura

This exhibition celebrates a recent gift of works by Pierre Daura (1896–1976, in Catalan: Pere Francesc Daura i Garcia) and compliments the concurrent exhibition Cercle et Carré and the International Spirit of Abstract Art. Daura co-founded the Cercle et Carré group in 1928–29 with the Uruguayan artist Joaquín Torres-García and the Belgian poet and critic, Michel Seuphor. Born in the Catalan region of Spain, Daura was raised in Barcelona and attended the Academy of Fine Arts there, known as “La Llotja,” where he studied with Josep Calvo and José Ruiz y Blasco, Pablo Picasso’s father. In 1914, Daura moved to Paris where he worked first as a studio assistant to the Post-Impressionist Émile Bernard. From 1925 to 1927, Daura operated a studio designing and producing silk batiks with the Argentine artist Gustavo Cochet until a fire destroyed their business. Daura met Louise Heron Blair from Richmond, Virginia in 1927. They were married the following year and moved to the medieval French village of Saint-Cirq Lapopie in 1930. In 1937, Daura joined the Republican militia fighting against General Francisco Franco in his native Spain. He was wounded and returned to France later that year. In 1939, the Dauras moved to Virginia and Pierre taught studio art at Lynchburg College, then at Randolph-Macon Women’s College.

Although Daura co-founded the abstractionist group Cercle et Carré, most of his life’s work seeks underlying structures in representational images, rather than total abstraction. A central conceptual source for Daura, in both for his abstract and representational images, was the German mathematician and philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716), who described “petite perceptions,” minute and seemingly simple observations that reveal universal constants. This search for an interconnected and fundamental truth in nature is especially evident in a series of still-life watercolors of fruit that Daura painted during his time in Virginia, selections from which form the core of this exhibition, along with oil paintings, etchings, and sculpture by this important but understudied artist.

This exhibition is made possible by a generous grant from the Daura Foundation.