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Henriette Zéphir at Collection de l'Art Brut

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February 3 – April 30, 2017

Compellingly incited by a presence she felt at her side, Henriette Zéphir (1920-2012) took to drawing on May 3, 1961. Under the influence of a "guiding" hand, she would execute her pencil, ballpoint pen and India ink drawings in a single continuous line. Henriette Zéphir did not think of herself as a medium, but as a channel through which energies could travel. She thus brings to mind the spiritualist Art Brut creators who, feeling linked with the afterlife, create in terms of what the spirits dictate to them. Thus, too, and in the same fashion as Augustin Lesage, Laure Pigeon and Jeanne Tripier, this creator made no claim to be the author of her drawings, asserting instead that she was merely obeying her "guide." As such, she did not consider herself to be an artist, yet she would work assiduously at creating, sometimes up to ten hours a day!

During the 1960s, Jean Dubuffet became interested in spiritualist creations in particular. He expanded his collections to include such remarkable works as Augustin Lesage's very first canvas, and drawings by Laure Pigeon. During this time, too, he visited Henriette Zéphir in Nice, acquiring twenty of her drawings in February 1966, together with one more purchased two years later. In 2016, thanks to a generous bequest by Renée and Pierre Zéphir (Henriette's children), the Collection de l'Art Brut was able to acquire ten more of Henriette Zéphir's new compositions (some of which were executed only shortly before her death).

The Collection de l’Art Brut proudly presents its first solo show devoted to the work of Henriette Zéphir. Visitors will see a wide selection of drawings from our holdings in Lausanne, together with a major set of works on loan by Henriette's family. The display features compositions from various periods in this creator's production, highlighting the singularity and diversity of an oeuvre yet little known to the wide public. Jean Dubuffet was wont to characterize these surpri sing pictorial creations as "guipure lace." Meanwhile, Alain Bouillet, the author of the exhibition catalogue text, defines them in the following terms: "finely crafted ensembles, fishnet tracery, sprawling swarms of iridescent billows, protruding eruptive flames, cosmogonies in their native state, [all] provided under the guise of 'embroideries'."

Exhibition Curator: Anic Zanzi, Curator, Collection de l’Art Brut

Av. des Bergières 11 – 1004 Lausanne, SWITZERLAND