Jean Hélion

French, 1904–1987

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Jean Hélion

French, 1904–1987

501
Followers
Biography

A seminal figure in the 1930s Parisian avant-garde scene, Jean Hélion rose to prominence as an abstract painter, producing series exploring states of visual equilibrium. Initially influenced by Piet Mondrian’s linear compositions, Hélion’s style evolved as he embraced gradated volumes and curved, overlapping planes, as illustrated by Rouge Brilliant (1938). Along with Theo van Doesburg, he furthered the Art Concret movement, which grew out of De Stijl and Futurism and valued objectivity over symbolism and personal associations. WWII, in which his service begot capture and imprisonment, presented a stylistic rupture; thereafter, Hélion filled large canvases with monumental figures in quotidian situations, working radically against the modernist trajectory. “A man who has been locked up for a few years knows the value of reality,” he explained. “What can you communicate but the problematic meaning of the world?''

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Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
User
Solo show at a major institution
Centre Pompidou
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 2 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 2 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale National Pavilion, and 2 more
Biography

A seminal figure in the 1930s Parisian avant-garde scene, Jean Hélion rose to prominence as an abstract painter, producing series exploring states of visual equilibrium. Initially influenced by Piet Mondrian’s linear compositions, Hélion’s style evolved as he embraced gradated volumes and curved, overlapping planes, as illustrated by Rouge Brilliant (1938). Along with Theo van Doesburg, he furthered the Art Concret movement, which grew out of De Stijl and Futurism and valued objectivity over symbolism and personal associations. WWII, in which his service begot capture and imprisonment, presented a stylistic rupture; thereafter, Hélion filled large canvases with monumental figures in quotidian situations, working radically against the modernist trajectory. “A man who has been locked up for a few years knows the value of reality,” he explained. “What can you communicate but the problematic meaning of the world?''

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
User
Solo show at a major institution
Centre Pompidou
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 2 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 2 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale National Pavilion, and 2 more
Shows Featuring Jean Hélion