Jean Hélion was a French painter. Jean Hélion was born in Couterne, France in the year 1904. Hélion’s father was a taxi driver and his mother a dressmaker.
Before the artist discovered his love of art he worked in the pharmacy trade and also as an architectural apprentice. In 1925 he began taking figure drawing classes at the Académie Adler.
The artist was inspired by the abstract style of Otto Freundlich. Before Hélion met Freundlich he had no idea the abstract style of painting existed.
Below a great montage of works by the artist:
One year after meeting Freundlich the artist was introduced to Joaquin Torres- Garcia and the Cubist style of painting.
The artist came to the United States in 1936. With the outbreak of World War 2 Hélion returned to France and joined the Armed Forces. He was captured and held as a prisoner of war on a ship.
Hélion was kept a prisoner from 1940 to 1942 before escaping. Later after he returned to the United States he went on to write a best selling book about his service in the war.
The early portion of his career Hélion painted in oils. After some problems with his health and the oil paints the artist switched to acrylic paints.
Jean Hélion passed away in 1987.
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Works by Hélion can be found in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Tate Gallery of London, England.
Jean Hélion had a wide range of styles of painting and also used many mediums from acrylics, oils, gouache, printmaking, and pastels. My favorite works are his abstract works with color as a main feature. These works have a great combination of organic and geometric shapes with fantastic color.