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.
au delà : aux confins du visible et de l'invisible, christian berst art brut, paris, from march 7th to april 13th, 2019.
flying high, künstlerinnen der art brut, curators : ingried brugger, hannah rieger, veronika rudorfer, kunstforum, vienna, from february 15th to june 23rd, 2019.
drawing now art fair, le carreau du temple, paris, from march 22th to 25th 2018.
l'iguane, curators : louise hervé and chloé maillet, crédac (contemporary art center of ivry), from january 20th to march 25th, 2018.
in abstracto, christian berst art brut gallery, paris, from june 8th to july 15th, 2017.
drawing now, contemporary art fair, carreau du temple, paris, from march 23th to 26th, 2017.
henriette zéphir, collection de l'art brut, lausanne, from february 3rd to april 30th, 2017.
preTENse, exhibition catalogue, christian berst art brut gallery, paris, from september 12th to october 10th, 2015.
art brut, collection abcd/bruno decharme, la maison rouge, paris, from october 17th to january 18th, 2015.
henriette zéphir, une femme sous influence, christian berst art brut gallery, from february 4th to march 5th, 2011.
une rentrée hors-les-normes 2008, découvertes et nouvelles acquisitions, christian berst art brut gallery, from september 12th to october 11th, 2008.
exhibition catalog, au delà : aux confins du visible et de l'invisible, christian berst art brut ed, paris, 2019.
exhibition catalogue, flying high, künstlerinnen der art brut, ingried brugger, hannah rieger, veronika rudorfer, kunstforum, vienna, kehrer verlag, heidelberg, 2019.
exhibition catalogue, in abstracto, christian berst art brut ed., paris, 2017.
exhibition catalogue, henriette zéphir, anic zanzi, collection de l’art brut, lausanne, 2017.
preTENse, paris, christian berst art brut ed., 2015.
art brut, collection abcd bruno decharme, flammarion, 2014.
"henriette zéphir, alain bouillet explores the meandering lines of a french mediumistic artist", alain bouillet, in raw vision n°72, spring/ summer 2011.
exhibition catalogue, henriette zéphir, une femme sous influence, christian berst art brut ed., paris, 2011.
exhibition catalogue, une rentrée hors-les-normes 2009, découvertes et nouvelles acquisitions, christian berst art brut ed., paris, 2009.
exhibition catalogue, éloge du dessin, with alain bouillet texts concerning henriette zéphir, halle saint pierre, paris, 2008.
"henriette zéphir", jean dubuffet, in fascicule de l’art brut n°14, collection de l’art brut, lausanne, 1966 (rééd. 1986).
catalogue de la collection de l'art brut, collection de l'art brut, lausanne, 1971.
exhibition catalogue, l'art brut, musée des arts décoratifs, paris, 1967.
76 pages in color, 8.2 x 8.2 inches
Price 22 €
Co-published with éditions Le livre d'art, 2010
ISBN : 978-2-35532-102-3
selective press review
- l'art brut au féminin: un hymne à la vie authors éric tariant in le temps, april 5, 2019.
- in abstracto authors bénédicte philippe in télérama sortir, july 5, 2017.
- henriette zéphir est venue avec ses «guides» à l’art brut authors florence millioud-henriques in 24 heures, february 2, 2017.
- Straight from the Soul : Henriette Zéphir authors Alain Bouillet in Raw Vision, Spring / Summer 2011.
- NYOAF 2011 authors in animula vagula, February 19th 2011.
- Mental Images: A View from the Outsider Art Fair authors Paul Laster in Flavorwire, February 11th 2011.
- Henriette Zéphir à la Galerie Berst authors in animula vagula, February 6th 2011.