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Jean Helion

"Do I talk rubbish, or is it finally the truth?"


Notes of biography

Jean Hélion was born in 1904 in Couterne, France. He decides to dedicate himself entirely to painting around 1925. Before arriving in Paris, he was studying chemistry. In Paris, he works in an architectural office. He paints his first works in 1922, exhibits in Montmartre, at the Salon des ‘Croutes’, two years later. Jean Hélion, at the beginning of the 30’s, takes frequent trips to North America. His trips becomes longer and longer. In 1940, he returns to France to carry out his military obligations. A prisoner of war, he invades Germany in 1942, and leaves for the United States, Virginia and New York, where he stays for a while. He comes back to France for good in 1948.
Jean Hélion participates in numerous collective exhibitions. In 1970, a travelling exhibition of his works is organized by the National Centre of Contemporary Art through all the cultural centres in France. In the same year, an exhibition of his work at the national galleries of the Grand Palais in Paris establishes the foundation of his success that was up until now uncertain. Numerous solo exhibitions are organized under his name (Karl Flinker Gallery, Museum of Modern Art in Paris, St. Etienne, Strasbourg, etc.).
After his death, in 1987, other exhibitions are presented (Colmar, Sables d’Olonne, Caen, etc.).
After his first figurative period, Hélion comes, without a transition, into abstraction in 1929. He becomes friends with Mondrian, Torres-Garcia, then Tutundjan, Carlsund and Théo Van Doesburng, with whom he participates in the creation of the ‘Cercle et Carré’. If his first abstract paintings conform to the formal considerations, the style of Hélion, resumes contact with reality, quickly becoming more flexible. It becomes for him a ‘language of clarity’. The war and captivity lead him to change his style. He comes back to figurative work. His drawing is primarily impersonal and mechanic, then little by little becomes more academic, not hesitating to paint street scenes, engaging in 1968 with the antiestablishment. The life, like the work of Jean Hélion, is itinerant.

Artists on display

The art and the artists display: proclamations, galleries, museums, personal or collective exhibitions. On walls or in shop windows, wise or rebels, posters warn, argue, show. Some were specially conceived by an artist for such or such event, other, colder, have only the letter.

Some were created in lithographic technic, most are simple offset reproductions. They are many those who like collecting these rectangles of paper, monochrome or in games of colours, in matt paper or brilliant, with many words or almost dumb.

We are happy also to be able to greet, by this pages, mythical galleries as those of Denise René, Louis Carré, Claude Bernard, Berheim Jeune, Maeght, Pierre Loeb and others.


Complete work(s)

Complete work(s)
*« Hélion », H.-C. Cousseau, Ed. du Regard, Paris, 1992 *« Jean Hélion », C. R. en cours de réalisation : All the complete works

Bibliographic track and more

To read about the artist :
  • « Hélion ou la force des choses », La Connaissance, Bruxelles, 1975
  • « Jean Hélion », H.-C. Cousseau, Ed. Regard, Paris, 1992
  • « Peintures et dessins », MAM de la ville de Paris, 1984
  • « Mémoire de la chambre jaune », J. Bichier, Ed. ENSBA, 1999
  • « A perte de vue, choses revues », coll. Empreintes, Ed. IMEC, Paris, 2000
  • « Hélion, la figure tombée », S. Lecoq-Ramond, Ed. Adam Biro, 2000
  • « Jean Hélion », H.-C. Cousseau & D. Ottinger, Centre Pompidou, 2004
  • « Hélion », Philippe Dagen, Ed. Fernand Hazan, 2004
  • « Hélion », Hervé Bize, Ed. Cercle d'art, 2004
  • « Jean Hélion », D. Ottinger, Paul Holberton Publishing, 2005
To read from the artist :
  • « Journal d'un peintre », Ed. Parole Et Silence, 1992
  • « Ecrits », ENSBA & IMEC, Paris, 1994 & 2004
Website :

More :

Art movements

+ SOCIAL REALISM / 1920-1950 / André Fougeron, Otto Griebel, Amédée de la Patellière, etc.
+ ABSTRACTION-CREATION / 1931-1938 / Etienne Béothy, Frantisek Kupka, Piet Mondrian, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Georges Vantongerloo, etc.
All art movements

See & discover

Beyond works currently in stock, it seemed to me useful to combine business with pleasure by letting you discover others works by artists in my gallery. These artworks, now sold or removed from our website, have been in our stock in the past.

These pages will undoubtedly make it possible for some of you to associate an image with its title or the other way round, for others it will be a good time to discover more on such and such artist. For the sake of confidentiality – the pieces being no longer available – we won't display neither their numbering or their price. For whatever reason, make sure to visit this amazing art database with to date 6441 online works just for your pleasure! Michelle Champetier

See & discover