Jacques Delahaye was born in 1928 in Paris, where he studied at the École des Arts Appliqués and the École des Beaux-Arts. The first public presentation of his work was at the Paris Salon de la Jeune Sculpture in 1951. From 1975 to 1993 Delahaye held a professorship at the École des Beaux-Arts.
In the 1950s and 1960s Delahaye’s sculptures and drawings drew great attention in France and subsequently also in an international context. They were discussed by art critics Pierre Restany, Michel Tapié, and Manfred de la Motte and were shown in 1957 in Restany’s exhibition »Espaces imaginaires« / »Imaginary Spaces.« With their jaggedly dynamic surfaces reaching deeply into the material, the mostly figural-abstract sculptures that draw on strong contrasts, present a changed concept of sculpture, evocative of its time. At first Delahaye worked with everyday materials such as paper or corrugated cardboard and experimented with their pliability and surface structure. In 1960 the lost wax technique of metal casting became the new field where he performed his sculptural work. The figures now became smaller, the surfaces with their ridges and cavities became more agitated, and were sometimes entirely raised in abstract forms. With their gestural, dynamic qualities, they were also considered a sculptural variety of informal art.
With the sculpture Cavalier II, Delahaye participated in the Documenta II and in the first sculpture Biennale of Paris (1959). In 1965 Cavalier II was also part of the Tokyo Biennale. Since the late 1950s Delahaye’s works have been shown in the context of exhibitions, e. g. in the traveling exhibition »L’art Informel« (Tokyo, Turino, Düsseldorf, 1957). After exhibitions at the Neue Galerie in the Künstlerhaus Munich (1962) and at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris (1965), however, Delahaye withdrew from the art scene and dedicated himself to teaching. His bronze sculptures were increasingly forgotten.
With an exhibition of sculptures and drawings at the Art Society Villa Wessel in 2006, Delahaye’s works were finally honored again.
Jacques Delahaye lives in Offranville, Normandy.
Bergenthal, Th.; Stracke, J. (Hg.): Der Bildhauer Jacques Delahaye – le sculpteur Jacques Delahaye, Bönen 2006
Delahaye: Ausst.-Kat. Neue Galerie im Künstlerhaus, München 1962
Hoctin, L.: Jacques Delahaye, in: L’ oeil, 76 (1961), 52 — 57