Rotraut Awarded "Officier des Arts et des Lettres" by Government of France 

Rotraut with the Consul General of France in Los Angeles, Ms. Julie Duhaut-Bedos
Rotraut with the Consul General of France in Los Angeles, Ms. Julie Duhaut-Bedos

Tourné Gallery is pleased to announce that Rotraut Klein-Moquay, best known by her mononym Rotraut, has been recognized as an Officier in the Government of France's Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. This represents one of the highest honors given by France to those who have made significant contributions to the arts. Other visual artists granted membership in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres include Françoise Gilot, Ellsworth Kelly, and Kehinde Wiley.

In her comments during the awards ceremony, held at the Consulate General of France in Los Angeles, Consul General Julie Duhaut-Bedos told Rotraut: 

I truly believe you were born an artist. Art is for you as much a world view as it is a practice. Your early years in France were not just a period of artistic apprenticeship but a period of profound personal and creative growth. Immersed in the vibrant cultural milieu of Paris among Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Tinguely, César, Christo, Felix Klee, and many, many others...

Dear Rotraut, when I look at your artistic career, I see more of a constellation than a linear pathway. As we stand here today, let us not only celebrate the artist but the art itself, as you are a living testament to the power of the human spirit transcending the ordinary to touch the sublime.

Born in Rerik, Germany in 1938, Rotraut began creating artwork in her youth, inspired by her natural surroundings. She received early training and guidance from her brother, Günther Uecker, who at the time was an active member of the ZERO art movement.

Rotraut’s practice evolved as she moved to Nice, France in 1957, where she worked as an au pair for the family of the artist Arman. In the ensuing years, Rotraut was deeply connected to the artistic movements taking hold in Western Europe and New York. It was during this time that she created the first of her “Galaxies” paintings and perfected the craft of her forms, referred to by curator Klaus Ottmann as “symbols of the ‘collective unconsciousness’” and by art historian Julia Friedman as “mediumistic.” Rotraut’s work was exhibited for the first time in Nice in 1958, and a public exhibition at New Visions Centre Gallery in London, England followed in 1959.

It was also during this time that Rotraut met the artist Yves Klein, with whom she explored the concepts of cosmic energy and immaterial sensibility in art. They also collaborated on works, including Klein’s famed Anthropométries series. The two married in 1962. After Klein’s untimely death at the age of 34, Rotraut established the Yves Klein Archives in Paris.

Rotraut later settled in Paradise Valley, Arizona, where she maintains her primary studio practice. In Arizona, she began the prolific creation of her large-scale, boldly colored sculptures, which give volume to her forms. Her sculpture has been widely exhibited, including in Saint Tropez, France, Lugano, Switzerland, and, most recently, the Desert Botanical Gardens in Arizona.

Rotraut has participated in dozens of solo and group exhibitions throughout her career. Her work is represented in numerous public collections, including the Centre Pompidou in France, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, and the Phoenix Art Museum in the United States, as well as private collections in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Monaco, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States.