Thérèse Bonnelalbay was born in the Hérault in southern France. Her father was a coalminer. At the age of 29, she went to live in Marseille to work as a nurse. Some years later, in 1959, she married Joseph Guglielmi, a school teacher with whom she had two children. The couple had strong political convictions and regularly attended Communist Party meetings.
It was at one of these meetings, in 1963, that Bonnelalbay mechanically began doodling with an ink pen on a random piece of paper. Her husband, impressed by the unusual shapes, encouraged her to continue, and so for many years she allowed her hand to meander over the white surface of sheets of paper. Her productions, initially intended as figurative, progressively flourished, becoming ethereal abstractions in which drawing and writing came together instead of diverging. Sketches, ideograms, simulacra or imaginary alphabet? Our indecision on seeing her works gives them their strength. Her light sketches touch on the mysteries of the unconscious and plunge us like the explorations of Henri Michaux, into the heart of a graphic fantasy where the line between picture and writing fades away, where the ineffable wells up. The family then settled in Ivry-sur-Seine. On 16 February 1980, Bonnelalbay disappeared. She was found drowned in the Seine one month later. She left an extraordinary collection of work.
Her drawings, greatly admired by Jean Dubuffet, are to be found in major collections, including those of Lausanne and the LaM in Lille.
flying high, künstlerinnen der art brut, curators : ingried brugger, hannah rieger, veronika rudorfer, kunstforum, vienne, from february 15th to june 23rd, 2019.
leben in art brut, bildraum bodensee, collection hannah rieger, from july 14th to august 16th, 2018.
drawing now art fair, le carreau du temple, from march 22nd to 25th, 018.
living in art brut, 123 works from the hannah rieger collection, museumkrems, krems an der donau, austria, from september 8th to october 26th, 2017.
on the wire, by jean-hubert martin, christian berst art brut gallery & jean brolly gallery, from april 9 to may 22, 2016.
the ones and the others, centre d'étude de l'expression et centre hospitalier saint-anne, april 14th - july 10th, 2016.
preTENse, christian berst art brut gallery, paris, from september 12 to october 21, 2015.
rentrée hors les normes 2013: discoveries & new acquisitions, christian berst gallery, september 7th - october 12th, 2013.
rentrée hors les normes 2011: discoveries & new acquisitions, christian berst gallery, september 10th - 28th, 2011.
exhibition catalogue, flying high, künstlerinnen der art brut, ingried brugger, hannah rieger, veronika rudorfer, kunstforum, vienna, kehrer ed., heidelberg, 2019.
exhibition catalogue, leben in art brut, hannah rieger collection, bildraum bodensee, seestraße, 2018.
exhibition's catalogue, living in art brut, 123 works from the hannah rieger collection, museumkrems, bad vöslau, austria, 2017.
exhibition catalogue, on the wire by jean-hubert martin, christian berst art brut & jean brolly gallery, christian berst art brut, ed. paris, 2016.
preTENse, exhibition catalogue, paris, christian berst art brut ed., 2015.
rentrée hors-les-normes découvertes et nouvelles acquisitions 2013, exhibition catalogue, paris, christian berst ed., 2013.
collection de la création franche : 1989 – 2010, texts by martine lamy, noël mamère, pascal rigeade et gérard sendrey, ville de bègles, 2010.
l'aracine & l'art brut, les chemins de l'art brut (8), catalogue d'exposition (24/09- 15/12/2009, galerie colbert, inha, paris; 19/01-26/02/2010, galerie les 3 lacs, lille 3, villeneuve d'ascq), lille, lam, 2009.
art brut, collection abcd, exhibition catalogue ("art brut, sbirka abcd" at the prague city gallery, june 14th - september 10th, 2006), abcd ed., 2006.
la fabuloserie, art hors-les-normes, art brut, catalogue, dicy, 2001.
abcd une collection d’art brut, arles, actes sud / [paris] abcd, 2000.
art brut, collection de l'aracine, exhibition catalogue (february 2nd - july 14th, 1997), musée d'art moderne, communauté urbaine de lille-villeneuve d'ascq, 1997.
hervé di rosa et hervé perdriolle, "thérèse bonnelalbay, andré robillard", les cahiers de l'art modeste n° 1, édition diro .a.r.l., 1991.
l'aracine, musée d'art brut, neuilly-sur-marne, l'aracine, 1988.
joseph guglielmi, lunes d'été, illustré de dessins de thérèse bonnelalbay, encrages, 1985.
michel thévoz, "thérèse bonnelalbay", fascicule de l’art brut n°11, lausanne, collection de l’art brut, 1982.
les singuliers de l'art, des inspirés aux habitants paysagistes, arc2, musée d'art moderne de la villes de paris, catalogue d'exposition, 19 janviers-5 mars 1978.
catalogue de la collection de l'art brut, paris, publications de la collection de l'art brut, 1971.
l’art brut, exhibition catalogue (musée des arts décoratifs, april 7th - june 5th, 1967), text by jean dubuffet (place à l’incivisme), paris, compagnie de l’art brut & union centrale des arts décoratifs, 1967.