Artwork Analysis > To the discovery of a work by Jean Hélion

To the discovery of a work by Jean Hélion


Jean Hélion, Untitled, circa 1948, charcoal on paper glued to canvas


This work could have “Intimate discussion of a threesome” as its title. 

Two naked women in the intimacy of a bedroom…and you. The drawing, almost life size, and close-up is like a door that you want to go though.  Hélion invites you into the picture.

Before you, In the foreground is a woman lying on a rug, the right leg over left knee exposing the chest. Another one behind and above her is seated on a bed, head lowered with legs crossed in opposition to those of her friend.

Obviously, you have the pleasure of participating in a moment of relaxation, in the sweet voluptuousness of vaporous wallpaper and a soft carpet suggesting the transparency of the white gouache.  Its presence in this charcoal drawing, a rare element for painters, surrounds the nude women, providing a reassuring, bright and fresh feminine ambiance.

In a similar and natural attitude the two women are in symbiosis: their wavy hair untied, their left arms folded on the right shoulder.  They look at each other and speak softly.

Their appendages surround and underline the marvelously structured sensual elements. Thus posed, they make their breasts, the tender and passionate zones, bloom. The bodies express their humanity without useless modesty.

The immortal femininity of the work is stressed as a pyramid shaped temple! An allegory of life and brief, sincere, simple and unforgettable moments stolen from Chronos!

The color of the paper brings transparency and lightness leaving the lines sinuous, the geometric shapes simple, making the gestures rhythmic and charnel.

And you, how would you draw them?