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Gérard Vulliamy

Gérard Vulliamy (1909-2005)

Gérard Vulliamy (1909-2005) was a painter, draftsman and engraver of French Swiss origin born in Paris. He attended the school of André Lhote, in which he joined the group in 1932 Abstraction- Creation founded by Auguste Herbin. Vulliamy met Jacques Villon, Robert Delaunay and Piet Mondrian. Two years later, he progressed to surrealism. This is when he became part of the group of Swiss artists Allianz.

Gérard Vulliamy is not one of the best known painters, but it deserves to be, he is linked to André Breton, Paul Eluard (whose daughter he married), and Francis Ponge. Vulliamy surreal thinking period which lasted between 1934 and 1947 gave way to participating in the 1938 International Exhibition of Surrealism at the gallery of Fine Arts in Paris.

The Sphinx, 1938 Gérard Vulliamy

The Sphinx, 1938 Gérard Vulliamy

Vulliamy was passionate about the style and look of the Italian primitives and Renaissance painters, he studied in the laboratory analysis of the Louvre wood panels preparation techniques and glaze method, and appled this knowledge in his surrealist paintings, including one entitled Trojan ‘Cheval de Troie (1937-1938) (Figure 1).

Gérard Vulliamy painting Trojan (1937-1938)

Gérard Vulliamy painting Trojan (1937-1938)

This painting is my favourite of all Vulliamy peices a dazzling technique, the painting fascinates shows his strength, the multitude of details and composition that are reminiscent of Bosch’s works, and reflects on the eve of the Second World War the visionary force Vulliamy, prescient of the disaster that will befall Europe.

During the occupation he participated in the review Pen in hand with Raoul Ubac and Gérard Schneider. From 1945, he started to draw non-figurative compositions and came back to formal abstraction and the Rayonism.

He exhibited at that time in the galleries of Jeanne Bucher and Denise René.

 Gerard Vulliamy - The love of the sea - 1935

Gerard Vulliamy – The love of the sea – 1935

He was the friend of many poets and married Cecilia, the daughter of Paul Eluard and Gala. For his bread and butter, he illustrated books.

He has participated in numerous group exhibitions in France and abroad, including the Kunsthalle Bern, the Kunsthalle Basel, Carnegie institute of Pittsburg , at the Salon of New Realities and the Salon de Mai. Since 2004 his works are on permanent display at the Arnoux Gallery.

We were lucky enough to visit the paper exhibition at The Museum of Fine Arts of Besançon, back in 2012 which  showed the importance of drawing in the creative process of the artist, as evidenced number of preparatory sketches where every detail is worked in blue pencil or pencil. But also interesting are the large drawings in pastel or charcoal, as The Sphinx, The inaccessible and frigid Mona Lisa, The thaw border, where organic masses arise strange beings, hallucinated landscapes.

Gérard Vulliamy is interested in the “automation of forms and movements,”seeking to create his works in a space in which the movement would bring the” landscape within human forms, beings become objects or plant beings and vice versa. ” Vulliamy is also an excellent engraver, sought to illustrate the texts of his friends writers and poets, since hunting pink fawn Pierre Gueguen in 1935, up memories of the madhouse of Paul Eluard in 1945 and in Shrimp tizzy Francis Ponge in 1948. it was around 1945, Vulliamy abandons surrealism to abstract art.


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The last reproduction of your article on Vulliamy is not by him (it is in fact signed Engel-pak).
Please remove.
The museum in Besançon had a drawing exhibition in 2011-2012, but there is nothing there by Vulliamy otherwise. Besançon has no link to Vulliamy.
C. Sarti (Vulliamy’s daughter)

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thank you for your comments, I have actioned the edits and are now visible on the site.

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