François Morellet (French, b.1926) is a painter, engraver, sculptor, and light artist associated with Minimalism and Conceptual Art, as well as geometrical abstract art. Born in Cholet, Morellet taught himself to paint while working for his father’s company. In 1950, he created his first abstract works, and held his first solo show at Galerie Creuze in Paris.
Beginning in the mid-1950s, Morellet became interested in the structure of the pictorial plane, focusing on the ways in which the image could reach beyond the boundaries of the canvas. During this time, he experimented with geometric forms, including lines, squares, and triangles.
In 1960, Morellet co-founded GRAV (Groupe de Recherche d''Art Visuel), a group of Kinetic artists who used scientific and experimental techniques to explore the possibilities of visual art. As part of this new, more experimental phase in his work, Morellet began using neon lights in 1963, becoming concerned with the relationship between perception and environment, and creating installations with neon tubes that switched on and off intermittently. In 1965, he participated in the important exhibition The Responsive Eye, held at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.
After the dissolution of GRAV in 1968, Morellet participated in documenta in Kassel, Germany, as well as the XIV Triennial in Milan. He also became interested in architecture, and received commissions for public spaces, including the Centre culturel in Compiègne, the La Défense section of Paris, and the Kröller-Müller Museum Park in Otterlo.
Morellet lives and works in Cholet.