Cécile Reims The Etchings, 1950-2011

From Friday 4 november 2011 until Sunday 11 march 2012

Cécile Reims L’Herbier charnel
2002-2003 - Burin
Collection Musée Jenisch, Vevey © ADAGP, Paris, 2011

Cécile Reims L’Herbier charnel
2002-2003 - Burin
Collection Musée Jenisch, Vevey © ADAGP, Paris, 2011

As a child in Lithuania, then in Paris, Jerusalem and Barcelona, Cécile Reims (born 1927) drew the world around her. 

Prix Maratier 2011

Surviving the war in hiding and then tuberculosis, Cécile Reims felt bound to give a meaning to her life as “double survivor” and “entered art” as one enters religion.

When she met the etcher Joseph Hecht in 1945 she discovered the burin, the demanding instrument that became the privileged means of expression with which she soon produced the mysterious Visages d’EspagneMétamorphoses and Bestiaire de la mort series. But to aid the work of her husband Fred Deux (born 1924), whom she met in 1951, Cécile Reims’ artistic vocation took another form: she distanced herself from her own creative work to transpose the drawings of other artists into etchings. Cécile Reims assumed this role with a certain joy and immense talent, anonymously producing the etchings of many artists in the Surrealist diaspora, including Hans Bellmer from 1966 to 1975, Salvador Dali from 1969 to 1988, Fred Deux from 1970 to 2008, and Leonor Fini from 1972 to 1995.

Cécile Reims’ increasing need to express herself in her own right led her one day to the Museum of Natural History in Paris and “an access to herself”: the plates of an “Anatomical Treatise of the caterpillar that eats its way into willow wood”. Her etchings of the dissection of this insect, and in 1986 the album, La Chenille, marked her release from a certain clandestinity and this was brought to a definitive end by the major retrospective of her work at the at the Bibliothèque nationale de France in 2004.

In her many series of etchings based on anthropocentric questionings, inspired by her observation of nature, the landscapes surrounding her and images of foreign lands, Cécile Reims freely projected her inner concerns, revealing a hidden meaning behind appearances and seeking to convey what links the whole of creation in images.  

The Fondation Pro-MAHJ awarded Cécile Reims the Prix Maratier for her entire oeuvre.

The exhibition was created in collaboration with the Musée Jenisch Vevey–Cabinet cantonal des estampes, which is publishing the catalogue raisonné of her etchings, Cécile Reims. L’œuvre gravé, 1945-2011.

Curators:

  • Nathalie Hazan-Brunet, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the mahJ
  • Lauren Laz, curator of the Cabinet cantonal des estampes, Musée Jenisch Vevey


Les outils de Cécile Reims, a film by 'Isabelle Filleul de Brohy



Cécile Reims graveur, a film by Isabelle Filleul de Brohy

Les outils de Cécile Reims, a film by 'Isabelle Filleul de Brohy