The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is the first museum to dedicate an exhibition to the work of Pierre Le-Tan (Paris, 1950), son of a Parisian mother and of the Indochinese painter Le-Pho Nam, who moves to Europe to see the work of the Flemish and Renaissance painters and who would eventually settle in Paris. In this way, in the drawings by Pierre Le-Tan, the Western world is seen through oriental coloured glasses with a refinement that sometimes contains a plot and a desolation that goes beyond the landscape. A great illustrator, the works of Le-Tan have been published in the last thirty years in numerous publications such as: The New Yorker, Vogue Decoration and The world of interiors, as well as in numerous literary texts, both his own and from other writers.
Le-Tan belongs to what might be called the family of painter-decorators who in contemporary society have their origins in the British Victorian Arts & Crafts, and which develop during the twentieth century by way of refinement, with Jean Cocteau, Christian Bérard, Leonid Berman and Pavel Tchelitchew. In Le-Tan the interiors of Paris, New York and Tangier multiply, full of refinement and nostalgia. His literary journey and his drawings on Tangier stand out as well as the description of Paris from his own memories, a memory which creates subtle images that identify with the clear line of what is comical.
In this first major exhibition on Le-Tan’s work, objects and drawings of his last thirty years are shown, with a look that embodies the twentieth century's most cosmopolitan culture, but filtered through the finest Asian culture. Literature and art are deeply united in the work of this artist, writer and collector. His drawings are tales of romance, his cartoons are poem-postcards, his texts are not only notebooks with illustrator’s notes. In his books text is not a support to drawing nor a complement, but both are front and back of the same: a way of understanding life, understanding literature as a form of memory. Although he draws the West, Le-Tan is still an illustrator from the East, a calligrapher disguised as a miniaturist, a cosmopolitan with an eye turned backwards towards cities and a time that no longer exists.