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Drawing No.7
© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2021. Photo credit: Pallant House Gallery, Chichester

Drawing No.7 1936

Jean Hélion (1904–1987)

Pallant House Gallery

French painter, born at Couterne, Orne. In 1921 he moved to Paris, where he was apprenticed to an architectural firm. He began painting full-time—self-taught—in 1925. His early work—landscapes, portraits, still-lifes—was naturalistic, but he was soon influenced by avant-garde art. An enterprising and energetic man, he quickly gained many friends in the art world, including *Torres García, who introduced him to *Cubism. Hélion was also influenced by *Mondrian and by 1929 he was painting in an uncompromisingly abstract style. In 1930 he signed van *Doesburg's manifesto Art Concret (see Concrete art), and in 1931 he was a founder member of the *Abstraction-Création group. Hélion's most characteristic works were done during the next few years—broadly patterned geometrical abstractions with strangely curving tube-like forms recalling the mechanistic paintings of *Léger (Île de France, 1935, Tate).

Text source: A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art (Oxford University Press)


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