Hélène Marie Marguerite Perdriat was born in La Rochelle,
France in 1894. In 1915 at the age of 21 she became ill and believed
she was going to die. In her sick bed she had a longing to paint a self-portrait,
this was the beginning of a long successful career.
She recovered from her illness but required a long convalescence, this
gave her the opportunity to continue painting. She painted more self-portraits,
portraits of friends and her sisters. She painted from childhood dreams,
and memories of ships from the Breton coast, and she wrote poems. She
painted animals, ships, and sailors, but always return to self-images,
often incorporating her fantasy characters.
When Perdriat recovered she married the Norwegian artist Thorwald Helleson;
they went to Oslo, Norway on their honeymoon. She took her paintings
with her, and for amusement she exhibited them, they were received well
and she sold many canvases.
Perdriat went on
to exhibit in London, Berlin, New York, and Chicago. She continued to
live in Paris, she exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants beginning
in 1919, the Salon des Tuileries, Salon d’Automne, and the Salon
de la Folle Enchére in 1923. She exhibited at the Galerie Monyaigne
in Paris in 1920, the Gallery Neumann, and Gallery Chambrun in New York
in, Brown-Robertson Gallery in Chicago in1930. She exhibited at l’Exposition
des Femmes Artistes Modernes at the Théatre Pigalle in 1931.
Charm and originality, naïve and modern, all good, but inadequate
words to describe Perdriat’s work. Maybe because she had no formal
training Perdriat’s paintings are very personal. She came from
a wealthy family, traveled in artistic circles in Paris even before
she painted, and she wrote poetry, her paintings are rich with poetry.
Like many successful artists she had a style that could be identified
as her own, thus her paintings are very recognizable.
Perdriat illustrated several books, and executed engravings. Her works
are in important collections and museums, including the Barnes Foundation