Paule Vézelay

Paule Vézelay, by Paule Vézelay, circa 1927-1929 - NPG 6003 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Paule Vézelay

by Paule Vézelay
oil on canvas, circa 1927-1929
25 5/8 in. x 21 3/8 in. (651 mm x 543 mm)
Purchased, 1988
Primary Collection
NPG 6003

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Born Margery Watson-Williams in Bristol in 1892, she studied art in her home town and then went to the Slade in 1911. Her first one person show was in Brussels in 1920 and it was from there that she first visited Paris. 'English art then bored me to tears' she said; in 1926 she made her first abstract drawing, changed her name and settled in Paris. Entitled 'Harmony', this self-portrait reflects the abstract style of work that Vezelay developed as a member of the Society Abstraction-Creation which she joined in 1934. She became friends with Hans Arp and his wife Sophie Tauber-Arp, and in 1938 she exhibited in Milan with Kandinsky, Arp and Seligmann. In September 1939 the onset of war forced her to return to Bristol where she made ink studies of bomb damage and took remarkable photographs of barrage balloons. On arrival back in Paris in 1946 she found that she had lost everything. Back in London in the 1950s she produced textile designs for Heal's. The Grosvenor Gallery held a retrospective of her work in 1968 and she featured in a BBC2 programme, 'Women of our Century' in August 1984. (Liz Rideal).

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Current affairs

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland is renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, acknowledging the full independence of the Irish Free State, led at the time by W.T. Cosgrave, the the first President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State.

Art and science

The BBC gains its Royal Charter making it a public corporation and a public service broadcaster accountable to its audience. John Reith became the first Director General with the directive to 'inform, educate and entertain.'


Stalin expels Leon Trotsky from the Soviet Communist Party, giving himself greater control of the party and country by ousting opposition elements.

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