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For half a century, Henriette Zéphir, a French mediumistic artist, devoted herself entirely to her “inner guide”, for which she never stopped creating. Her drawings captivate in their singular overall composition, but also in the force of its details. Halfway between pointillism, geometric abstraction and Fauvism, her work reflects an enlightened modernism. Discovered by Jean Dubuffet, she was presented, as early as 1967, in the historical exhibition of art brut at the Musée des Art Décoratifs (France). Today, her work is seen among the largest collections of art brut in the world, such as that of Arnulf Rainer, while the gallery dedicated a monograph to her in 2010.

henriette zéphir - © christian berst — art brut
Date 1920 — 2012
Country France

Henriette Zéphir was born near Toulouse in 1920. Her parents working far from her village of birth, she was raised by her grandparents. Although having received a religious education, she is neither pious nor a practicing. Marrying a Martiniquan in 1941, the couple decide to relocate to the French Antilles. However, their journey is stalled in Casablanca, where their first daughter is born. Her husband conscripted, Henriette stays 2 and a half years alone in Morocco. After the war, they finally arrives in Martinique. However, Henriette finds it difficult to adapt, feeling constantly an exile. She parts ways with her husband by 1956 and settles in Nice.

May 1st, 1961 in a revelation, she confronts her “Guide” for the first time. From this moment on, Henriette devotes herself to what she calls “the occult”. The extreme demand of the Guide expresses itself in diverse manners : during sessions of drawing, the pen will settle on a sheet of paper and will remain until the space is completely filled. Other times, the Guide imposes on her sessions in which she must lie prostrate on the ground or kneel for hours, as it dictates messages which she must scrupulously jot down. Henriette considers herself an instrument of these forces of the netherworld world and seems doubtful when one considers the product of her process as mere art. Spotted by Jean Dubuffet himself, this clairvoyant’s meandering creations - a confluence of the organic and the vegetal, where geometry reveals the spiritual - were exhibited as early as 1967 in the first exhibition of art brut opened to the general public at the musée des Arts Décoratifs.

Artworks
Please contact us to inquire about the available works.
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 1977
12.99 x 9.45 in
Henriette Zéphir, untitled - © christian berst — art brut
Henriette Zéphir, untitled, 1990
12.2 x 16.14 in
Henriette Zéphir, untitled - © christian berst — art brut
Henriette Zéphir, untitled, 1990
12.2 x 15.75 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 1965
12.2 x 9.06 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 1965
9.06 x 12.2 in
Untitled - © christian berst — art brut
Untitled, 1966
12.2 x 9.06 in
Exhibitions
beyond
on the edge of the visible and the invisible, at the gallery. From March 7 to April 13, 2019.
Flying High
Women Artists of Art Brut, Kunstforum, Vienne. From February 15 to June 23, 2019.
drawing now 2018
Carreau du Temple. From March 22 to 25, 2018.
in abstracto
at the gallery. From June 8 to July 15, 2017.
Henriette Zéphir
Collection de l'Art Brut, Lausanne. From February 3 to April 30, 2017.
View more
PreTENse
at the Gallery. From September 12 to October 10, 2015.
on the horizon
at the gallery. From January 28 to March 1, 2014.
outsider art fair
From February 11 to 13, 2011.
henriette zéphir
a woman under the influence, at the gallery. From February 4 to March 5, 2011.
kunst en antiek initiativen B.V.
From December 4 to 7, 2008.
beyond the boundaries season 2008
discoveries and recent acquisitions, at the gallery. From September 12 to October 11, 2008.
L’Art Brut
curator Jean Dubuffet, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. From April 7 to June 5, 1967.
exhibition view of *the beyond : on the edge of the visible and the invisible*, christian berst art brut, paris, 2019. - © christian berst art brut, photo: elena groud, christian berst — art brut
exhibition view of *flying high, künstlerinnen der art brut*, curators: ingried brugger, hannah rieger, veronika rudorfer, kunstforum, vienna, austria, 2019. - © kunstforum, photo: nilo klotz, christian berst — art brut
Exhibition view of *Henriette Zéphir : une femme sous influence*, christian berst art brut, Paris, 2011. - © christian berst art brut, christian berst — art brut
Press review
l’art brut au féminin: un hymne à la vie
éric Tariant, Le Temps. April 5, 2019.
in abstracto
Bénédicte Philippe, Télérama Sortir. July 9, 2017.
henriette zéphir est venue avec ses «guides» à l’art brut
Florence Millioud-henriques, 24 Heures. February 2, 2017.
Straight from the Soul : Henriette Zéphir
Alain Bouillet, Raw Vision. June 7, 2011.
NYOAF 2011
Animula Vagula. February 19, 2011.
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Mental Images: A View from the Outsider Art Fair
Paul Laster, Flavorwire. February 11, 2011.
Henriette Zéphir à la Galerie Berst
Animula Vagula. February 6, 2011.
Collections
collection de l’Art brut
Switzerland
abcd / Bruno Decharme collection
France
Carmen and Daniel Klein collection
Switzerland
Arnulf Rainer collection
Austria
Antoine Frérot collection
France
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Amr Shaker collection
Switzerland
Video
In abstracto BFMtv
Language French
Henriette Zephir

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