Paule Vézelay    British 1892-1984

Paule Vézelay was a British artist who became an active member of the Parisian avant-garde, and an innovative abstract artist. She was a member of the group Abstraction-Création and exhibited in several significant exhibitions of non-figurative art in Europe in the 1930s.

Born in Bristol as M. Watson-Williams, she changed her name in the 1920’s. She studied at the local school of art in 1909-12, and continued her studies at the Slade School of Art and Chelsea Polytechnic School of Art  in London in 1912-14 under George Belcher and John Hassall. She exhibited at the NEAC in 1918 (New English Art Club)  and had her first one man show in Brussels at Galerie Georges Giroux and at the Dorien Leigh Galleries in London in 1921.

However, by 1926, she decided to settle and live in Paris. She was deeply involved in the School of Paris and adopted the name Paule Vézelay. she lived for several years with the Surrealist artist André Masson, and mixed with many of the most significant artists of pre-war Paris including Kandinsky, Miro, Mondrian, Jean Arp and Sophie Tauber-Arp.

Vézelay’s early work was figurative, but apart from her Surrealist-inspired works from the 1930s and her wartime drawings, she was one of the first British artists to commit totally to the abstract movement. In 1939 Vézelay returned to England, but continued to exhibit regularly in France after the war. In England, she almost disappeared from public view until the Tate Gallery retrospective exhibition of her work in 1983. England & Co have represented the Estate of Paule Vézelay since 1988, and her work is represented in museum and public collections in Britain and abroad.

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