Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, et al. Women Only Works on Paper. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p. 87.
Paule Vézelay was one of the earliest and most imaginative British abstract artists. Having moved
to Paris in 1926, she quickly established a visual language of non-figurative shapes and forms that
she would call upon throughout the rest of her career. She insisted that the circles, ellipses, and
flame-like lozenges of these works did not have their genesis in natural forms’, but were invented
according to her concerns with harmony, balance, spacing and rhythmical contrast. In 1933, Vézelay
wrote: Of my own work I must say that I hope to give intense pleasure to the eye of the beholder, enticing
his regard to remain on colours and forms more pleasing than can easily be found in actuality, or seen
by his own unaided imagination. I hope this pleasure will prove a kind of music for the eyes, and may
hold his regard long enough to convey what I am telling with this mysterious language of paint; since it is
something that can only be painted.’
Although adept across several mediums, Vézelay discovered what she called a special quality’ in draw-
ing with pastel, and often applied it directly onto canvas. Her experiments with cut-collage and pastel
further demonstrate the artist’s wish to express form in space from the flat surface of the paper, which
she achieved in delicate and profound ways.
With thanks to Jane England