by Paule Vézelay
oil on canvas, circa 1927-1929
25 5/8 in. x 21 3/8 in. (651 mm x 543 mm)
Sitterback to top
- Paule Vézelay (Marjorie Watson-Williams) (1892-1984), Artist. Sitter in 1 portrait, Artist of 5 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Paule Vézelay (Marjorie Watson-Williams) (1892-1984), Artist. Artist of 5 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.
This portraitback to top
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).
Linked publicationsback to top
- 100 Pioneering Women, p. 92
- Rideal, Liz, Mirror Mirror: Self-portraits by Women Artists, 2001 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 12 September 2001 to 20 January 2002), p. 65
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 633
- Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 203
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- Mirror Mirror: Self-portraits by women artists (12 September 2001 - 20 January 2002)