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    Sale 7737

    Impressionist/Modern Day Sale (immediately following Impressionist/Modern Works on Paper)

    24 June 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 321

    Jean Hélion (1904-1987)

    Figure creuse

    Price Realised  


    Jean Hélion (1904-1987)
    Figure creuse
    signed and dated 'Helion 1936' (on the reverse)
    oil on canvas
    52 x 33 1/8 in. (132 x 84 cm.)
    Painted in 1936

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    The Jean Hélion Association will include this painting in their forthcoming Hélion catalogue raisonné.

    Heavily influenced by Mondrian and the de Stijl movement, Jean Hélion began experimenting with abstraction in 1929. Along with Théo van Doesburg, a founding member of the de Stijl movement, Hélion founded the relatively short-lived revue Art Concret which later became known as Abstraction-Création, and which involved the collaboration of artists such as Arp, Gleizes, Herbin and Robert Delaunay, among others. As a tireless proponent of abstract art, Hélion travelled to London where he met Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson in 1934. Between 1935 and 1939 he also made extensive trips to the United States where he has been credited with influencing the work of Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning and other Abstract Expressionist artists.

    The present painting clearly reflects the influence of Mondrian and de Stijl, while remaining highly individualistic. By 1936 Hélion had crafted his own distinct brand of abstraction characterized by using dramatically rounded forms and variations in colour to create volumetric figures in space. According to Hélion, 'Mondrian, whom I always admired but could not agree with, based his expressions on a reduction of means and the elimination of particularized representation. He used to say to me, "We are not of the same tradition--you are a Naturalist." Even as early as 1935 he "accused" me of belonging to the French naturalist tradition' (quoted in, 'Eleven Europeans in America', The Museum of Modern Art Bulletin, New York, 1946, vol. XIII, nos. 4-5, p. 29).

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    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    The artist's studio.

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note that the dimensions of this work are 44 1/8 x 33¼ in. (112 x 84.4 cm.) and not as stated in the catalogue. This work is also signed, dated and inscribed 'Hélion 36 "Figure Creuse" Jean Hélion New-York 1936' (on the reverse).


    H.C. Cousseau, Helion, Paris, 1992, p. 312 (illustrated).


    Les Sables d'Olonne, Musée municipal, 100 Tableaux, Exposition itinérante organisée par le Centre National d'Art Contemporain, January 1970; this exhibition later travelled to Rennes, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Rouen, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Beauvais, Musée départemental de l'Oise, Brest, Musée municipal, Vivoin, Sarthe, Prieuré, Caen, Théâtre municipal, Saint-Omer, Musée municipal, Arras, Musée municipal, Auxerre, Maison du Tourisme, Amiens, Maison de la Culture, Saint-Etienne, Maison de la Culture et des Loisirs, Cognac, Musée, Saint-Lizier, Festival and Toulouse, Centre Culturel.
    Paris, Grand Palais, Cent tableaux 1928-1970, December 1970 - February 1971.
    Saint-Etienne, Musée d'Art et d'Industrie, Peintures et dessins 1929-1979, September - October 1979.
    Aarhus, Kunstmuseum, Hélion - malerier og tegninger 1929-1983, September - October 1987, no. 11, p. 105.
    London, The Mayor Gallery, Jean Hélion, 1904-1987, July - September 1998, no. 2 (illustrated).
    Monaco, Hélion, ou l'invention de l'Autre, March - April 2000 (illustrated p. 109).
    Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, Jean Hélion, December 2004 - March 2005, p. 96 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Barcelona, Museu Picasso and New York, National Academy Museum.