Hélène Vanel at the opening of the 1938 International Surrealist Exhibition in Paris. Courtesy Richard Emerson.

Rhythm & Colour: Helene Vanel - Surrealist Dancer

Richard Emerson’s new book, Rhythm & Colour examines the life, work and loves of the avant-garde dancers Hélène Vanel, Loïs Hutton and Margaret Morris. Their theatres in Chelsea, Paris and the French Riviera attracted, among many others, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Salvador Dalí, the Duke of Windsor and Maréchal Pétain, Pablo Picasso and James Joyce, whose daughter Lucia was among their pupils.

This talk will examine how Hélène Vanel, who was trained as a dancer by Margaret Morris and as a painter by JD Fergusson, became the first Surrealist dancer, whose dances at the opening of the 1938 International Surrealist Exhibition in Paris have been hailed as foreshadowing Performance Art.

Author Richard Emmerson

Richard Emmerson