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Estimate: $ 3,000 - $ 5,000
PAULE VÉZELAY (1892-1984)
Lines in Space No. 11 (Sept Angles sur Fond Noir). Cotton and nylon thread box construction. 240x350 mm; 9 1/2x13 3/4 inches. Signed in pencil on the stretcher bar, verso and with the artist's signed label verso. 1950.
Provenance: Artist's estate, London.
Exhibited: Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Paris, 1950; "Paule Vézelay Retrospective: Drawings, Collages, Paintings, Sculptures and Constructions 1916-1968," Grosvenor Gallery, London, October 22-November 16, 1968, number 44.
Vézelay was born Marjorie Watson-Williams in Bristol, England. She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art and the London School of Art before starting her career in London, as a figurative painter, where she had her first show in 1921.
In 1926, she moved to France and changed her name to Paule Vézelay, possibly with the intention of aligning herself with the avant-garde School of Paris. Her move to Paris coincided with her abandonment of figurative painting in 1928 and she dedicated herself exclusively to abstraction. While living in France she gained success and recognition, and in the 1930s she became a member of the French abstract movement, Abstraction-Création. During her time in Paris she also met and fell in love with André Masson (1896-1987, see lot 217) with whom she had a relationship for several years.
The onset of World War II forced her return to London where she had difficulty gaining the same type of respect from the British art community as she had in France. Nevertheless, she remained committed to abstract art, often in the form of floating, quasi-biomorphic shapes. She engaged in innovative approaches to abstraction through her thread and wire constructions, which are seen as a significant contribution to the modern abstract artistic movement and rank among her most original works (see lots 108-110).
In 1952, the artist and publisher André Bloc (1896-1966) invited her to form a London branch of the Parisian Constructivist abstract movement Groupe Espace. She also formed a small group of British abstract artists who held an exhibition in 1955 at the Royal Festival Hall, which predated and anticipated the watershed 1956 Whitechapel Gallery exhibition, "This is Tomorrow." She was one of the first British artists to commit wholly to abstraction and her achievements were recognized with a retrospective exhibition at the Tate, London in 1983.