Description & Technical information

In the 1930s, Jean Hélion spent most of his time in the USA, where he exhibited for the first time in 1933.
He would also execute there his most marking works of 1939, year when Hélion produced his last Abstract painting "La figure tombée" and simultaneously his first figurative painting of that period "Au cycliste". These two major works are today hold at the Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris. While Abstraction was everywhere, Hélion
came back to figuration that he would never leave...

The artist then left New York in 1940 to come back to France where he was mobilized. After several years of ventures and captivity, he would return to the USA in October 1942.
When Hélion started to paint in 1943, it was naturally other men with hats or umbrellas that came back under his brush. And then, other characters appeared : the igniter, the man with glass, the painter and blond women...

The shape of these angular figures, often came from this vocabulary of abstract signs elaborated in the 1930s.

The period corresponds to his encounter in 1943 with the one who would become his wife in 1946, Pegeen Guggenheim, daughter of Peggy Guggenheim.

Our work titled "La fille aux cheveux jaunes" from 1944 could be a portrait of Pegeen with whom he had three children.
It can be related to different portraits of blond women, titled "Pegeen" that the artist executed at this time. The couple came back in Paris in 1946.

It is today the period of 1930-1950 which is the most sought-after in the artist's work. This period is the one that influenced most the artists of the American Pop Art of the 1950s.


Date:  1944
Period:  20th century
Origin:  France
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 81 x 109 cm (31⁷/₈ x 42⁷/₈ inches)
Provenance: David Hélion collection
Private collection

Literature: Salle du Quai Antoine Ier, Monaco, Hélion ou l'invention de l'Autre, Exhibition Catalogue, 2000, illustrated in color p.54.

This work is recorded in the online Catalogue Raisonné de l'oeuvre de Jean Hélion under the direction of Mrs Jacqueline Hélion.

Exhibitions: Hélion ou l'invention de l'Autre, Salle du Quai Antoine Ier, Monaco, March 4th - April 24th 2000.

Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints