Catalogue entry

PauleVézelay 1893-1984

T01725 Construction, Grey Lines on Pink Ground 1938

Inscribed ‘P. Vézelay 38’t.l., and on reverse ‘P. Vézelay 1938’and ‘1938’.
Canvas, 32 x 36 (81.2 x 116)·
Purchased from the artist (Grant-in-Aid) 1973.

Painted in Paris before the artist’s return to England at the outbreak of war in 1939.Describing her preoccupation with lines in space Paule Vézelay has written: ‘We know that the language of the artist is based upon the two lines which served Primitive Man long before the formation of the first alphabet; they were, and still are, the Straight Line and the Curved Line.’

‘After much study, practice and thought I began to hope that whether painted or drawn, my lines were “living lines” rather than painstaking marks. I was able to direct them, creating them how and where I wished with perfect exactitude so that they seemed to have fallen upon the surface beneath my hand; they answered my every demand, with all the flexibility I would allow them, and in my most optimistic moments I was content, feeling that these lines did indeed come from my hand and my Spirit... that they were inevitable.’ [Comment by PauleVézelay, January 1964]

In a letter to the compiler (18 January 1974) she added: ‘Lines have always interested me greatly, giving us an almost magic language, but in two dimensional art they are used on a flat surface to help create an illusion of space or of objects or of scenes, yet in space they exist as a reality.’

In a further letter (15 February 1974)the artist wrote: ‘I think I must have exhibited the painting “Construction, Grey Lines on a Pink Ground” perhaps at the Gallery Jeanne Bucher or at the Lefevre Gallery London, or at the Salon des Realites Nouvelles, or the Salon des Sur-Independants, but I am not sure and can find no trace of having done so.’

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1972–1974, London 1975.