Thursday, 29 March 2018

Paule Vézelay - part 1

Portrait of Paule Vézelay by Léon de Smet 1918

Paule Vézelay (1892–1984) was one of the pioneers of twentieth-century abstraction in Britain. She worked across a range of media, exploring common ideas and forms through painting, sculpture and textiles.
Born Marjorie Watson-Williams in Bristol, she moved to London in 1912 to study at the London School of Art under George Belcher, the Punch cartoonist, developing a humorous, illustrative early style. In 1926 she moved to Paris and adopted the name ‘Paule Vézelay’, possibly in the hope that its French-sounding origin would afford her greater opportunities as an artist. Abandoning her figurative approach she began depicting organic, biomorphic and geometric forms as well as creating relief works and sculptures.

During her time in Paris, Vézelay became part of an international network of leading avant-garde artists, including Hans Arp and Sophie Taeuber- Arp, Wassily Kandinsky, Maria Helena Viera da Silva, Joan Miró and Narlow Moss. She grew particularly close to André Masson and in 1934 joined the association of non-figurative artists "Abstraction-Création." 

Paule Vézelay in her studio, 1934

Vézelay returned to England at the outbreak of the Second World War, where she found critics and the public less supportive of her modern style. She turned to textile design as an additional source of income but continued to work as an artist until the end of her life, and was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Tate Gallery in 1983.

In 1942, quoting French poet Arthur Rimbaud, she proclaimed, "Cords have I stretched from bell-tower to bell-tower; garlands I strung from window to window; with gold have I linked one star to another, and I dance."

This is part 1 of a 2-part post on the works of Paule Vézelay:

1918-19 Bristol Hippodrome

1921 In a Little Restaurant, Paris
oil on canvas 81.3 x 100.5 cm

1921 Le Pont Neuf, Paris
lithograph 43.5 x 55.2 cm ( image )
Tate, London

1923 La Danseuse à la Corde
linocut on paper 39.1 x 30.5 cm
Tate, London
© The estate of Paule Vézelay

1923 The Bathers
linocut on paper 26.7 x 23.5 cm
Tate, London

1924 At  the Cirque Medrano, Paris
woodcut 19 x 15 cm

1925 Sir Eugene Goossens and Richard Tauber rehearsing at The Prince's Theatre, Bristol, 1925
oil on canvas 79.7 x 99 cm
© National Portrait Gallery, London

1926 Dancing Woman
pencil 26.6 x 20.3 cm

1927-29c Paule Vézelay ( Self-Portrait )
oil on canvas 65.1 x 54.3 cm
© National Portrait Gallery, London

1928 Composition with Blue Vase and Table
oil on canvas 73.7 x 93.3 cm
Private Collection

1928 Men in a Café
oil on canvas 65 x 54.5 cm

1929 Archway
oil on canvas 35.6 x 25.4 cm

1929 Flags
oil on canvas 146.1 x 114.3 cm
Private Collection

1930 Curves and Circles
oil on canvas 92 x 73 cm
Tate, London
© The estate of Paule Vézelay

1930 Drapeaux d'Hiver
oil on canvas 96.5 x 146.1 cm

1930s Personnages Sur un Toit
oil on canvas 61 x 50.8 cm

1931 Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe
oil on canvas 81 x 117 cm

1931 Ochre, Grey and Olive Green Composition
oil on canvas 50.2 x 65.4 cm

1932 Triangles and Tubes
oil on canvas 92.1 x 73 cm
Private Collection

1932c Composition ( with Blue Form )
oil on canvas 124.5 x 73.7 cm

1933 Composition
pastel on canvas 73 x 91.4 cm
Scottish Museum of Modern Art, Edinburgh, UK

1933 Formes en Movement
oil on canvas 40.6 x 33 cm

1933 Movement
oil on canvas 38 x 61 cm

1933 Personnage Tenant une Fleur
oil on canvas 41.3 x 33.6 cm
Private Collection

1933 Tubes et rubans
oil on canvas 24 x 40.5 cm

1933c Dancing Forms
oil on canvas 21.7 x 18.1 cm

1934 Five Forms
pencil 39.5 x 28 cm

1935 Abstract Composition
oil on canvas 16.3 x 24 cm
The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Oxford, UK

1935 Five Forms
plaster 28 x 38 x 25 cm
Tate, London
© The estate of Paule Vézelay

1935 Forms on Grey
oil on canvas 129.9 x 97.1 cm
Tate, London

1935 Grey Forms on Grey
oil on canvas 41.9 x 33 cm

1935 Grey Picture
oil on canvas 92.1 x 59.7 cm
Private Collection

1935 Little Black and White Picture
oil on canvas 27.3 x 22.2 cm

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