Paule Vezelay (1892 - 1984)

Tubes et Rubans

SKU: 4541

Signed, titled and dated 1933 on verso

Oil on canvas

Height – 24cm
Width – 40.5cm


The Mayor Gallery;Michael Parkin Fine Art

Provenance: The Mayor Gallery;  Michael Parkin Fine Art


 Paule Vezelay, in her own words left London in 1926 and….lived in
Paris because I (thought) my work (could) develop more freely there
than elsewhere. My sympathy was with art of today which really exists
and lives at its best Paris’. She added that it was not until 1928
that I painted my first picture of objects which were purely imaginary
and different from objects which I had actually seen. Grandually with
its development my worked seemed to contain little trace of English
artistic tradition, and my own English family name (Marjorie
Watson-Williams) seemed tour of place on my canvases; it was then, in
1927 for purely aesthetic reasons and with no wish to change my
nationality, that I adopted the pseudonym Madame Paule Vezelay, under
which name I contiue to work’, (Paule Vezelay, undated sheet of notes,
circa 1936)

She recalled years later how she met a great number of artists in
Paris, almost everybody’: among them Picasso, Bragque, Gris, Kandinsky,
Matisse, Miro, the Dalaunay’s, Arp and Taeber-Arp, Mondrian and

I was thrilled to be in Paris when all the giants were there; Braque
and Picasso were doing some of their most vigorous work in the next
street to my little studio…. Gradually, I became less interested in what
I saw and more interested in angles and light.’

Although she had supporters in England, such as Paul Nash who admired
her achievements, J.P Hodin pointed out in 1977 that’the reason why
there was such a deloy in the recognition of Paule Vezelay’s qualities
in England in comparion with the great prestige which she enjoyed
abroad, lies to some extent in the shyness and modesty of her character
and above all, in the pre-war lack of interest in avant-garde ideas in
Englad, and last but not least, by the long sojourn of the artist in

The thinly applied paint on a graduated background, found in Tubes and
Ribbons, is typical of Vezaley s paintings of the early 30’s.
Choosing often to work in pastel on canvas Vezealy explored this
effect further in works such as L’Arbre 1932, and Composition 1933.
This contrasts with the hard solid colour fields she used as the decade
progressed, though typically she retained the graduated backgrounds
(three forms on yellow ground 1936).

1933 represented a tumultous year for Vezelay. In 1929 she had fallen
in love with the prominent Surrealist Andre Masson – their passion
culminated in April 1932 when they made a formal marriage contract which
was left unfulfilled as their relationship disintegrated due to
Masson’s violent outbursts.. After fleeing Mason Vezelay described this
period as containing “the happiest moments of my life…. I shall never
find them again …. I know all too well that from this moment onward my
soul will seek yours, continually , and without hope.”

The source of all of the above quotes is; Paule Vezaley and her circle,
Paris and The South of France, England and Co, 2007.

We are grateful to Jane England for assistance.

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Paule Vezelay
1892 - 1984

Paule VŽ zelay (nŽ e Marjorie Watson-Williams) studied at Bristol
School of Art, London School of Art and Chelsea Polytechnic. 

She first exhibited in London in 1921 and joined the LG the
next year. In 1926, she moved to Paris and adopted the name Paule
VŽ zelay, which ‘ despite the moniker’s distinctly French nature ‘
she claimed was “for purely aesthetic reasons”. 

Closely associated with AndrŽ Masson (1896’1987) (with
whom she lived for four years), Jean Arp (1886’1966) and Sophie
Taeuber-Arp (1889’1943) during this period, by the early 1930s
VŽ zelay’s work had become increasingly abstract and she joined
Abstraction-CrŽ ation in 1934. One of only a few British members,
she was committed to international, non- representational art. 

She returned to London at the outbreak of WWII and
experimented with new artistic forms, including reliefs, painting
and textiles, some of which were shown at the Grosvenor Gallery
in 1968. A retrospective exhibition of her work was held at the
Tate Gallery in 1983.


Paule Vezelay (1892 - 1984)
Archway, 1929
Paule Vezelay (1892 - 1984)
Lines in Space, No. 11, 1950
Paule Vezelay (1892 - 1984)
Three Forms on Grey
Paule Vezelay (1892 - 1984)
A Moving Form and a Yellow Circle
Paule Vezelay (1892 - 1984)
Tubes et Rubans