Aloise. The Solar Ricochet - June 2 through October 28, 2012

Aloise. The Solar Ricochet
The summer of 2012 will witness one of the greatest events ever organized in honor of the oeuvre of Aloïse (1886-1964), an Art Brut creator that Jean Dubuffet, originator of the very concept, held in highest esteem. The two upcoming Aloïse. The Solar Ricochet (Aloïse. Le ricochet solaire) exhibitions are being jointly presented by the Collection de l'Art Brut and the Cantonal Fine Arts Museum of Lausanne, in conjunction with the online publication of a catalogue raisonné of Aloïse's oeuvre, compiled by the Aloïse Foundation. All in all, this major event encompasses a reference-level volume, a booklet, and a boxed set of two CDs.

The Collection de l'Art Brut is presenting Aloïse. The Solar Ricochet twenty-six years after its first show in Aloïse's honor. On display will be the initial group of works by this Art Brut creator, as assembled by Jean Dubuffet, thus offering a historical overview of Aloïse's production. Thanks to the donation that the French painter Dubuffet made to the City of Lausanne in 1971, marking the origin of the Collection de l'Art Brut, this museum boasts a major body of works by Aloïse. These holdings have since been further enlarged thanks to subsequent donations by Professor Hans Steck, director of the University Psychiatric Hospital of Cery, near Lausanne, from 1936 to 1960, by his wife Eva Steck, by Jean Planque and by Juliette Narbel , a nurse at the La Rosière psychiatric institution in Gimel.

Jacqueline Porret-Forel, a general practitioner established in Morges, near Lausanne, met Aloïse at the La Rosière asylum of the Cery Psychiatric Hospital; frequent meetings between the two allowed her to become well acquainted with Aloïse. Five years later, triggering an encounter that would prove decisive for Art Brut, Jacqueline Porret-Forel invited Jean Dubuffet to have a look at Aloïse's work. Dubuffet who, barely a year ago, had begun searching for creations free of any cultural or social conditioning, immediately understood the exceptional quality of the oeuvre being presented to him. In 1948, he mounted a show of the drawings in the basement of Galerie René Drouin, turning Aloïse into a figure emblematic of Art Brut itself. Enthused by this discovery, Dubuffet would return to Gimel, near Lausanne, in Switzerland on several occasions to visit Aloïse and, over an almost twenty-year period, to follow her oeuvre's evolution.

Jean Dubuffet applied a meticulous and demanding eye to selecting certain pieces from among those belonging to Dr. Jacqueline Porret-Forel, who later donated them to him. He was thus able to build up a body of works unique in the world, to become the core of the Collection de l'Art Brut holdings. He considered "Aloïse's vast tapestry with its thousands of facets" as a splendid example of an Art Brut creation—fully feminine, and providing her with "a way of showing her feeling of the impermanence, the relativity, the actual non-existence of all beings."

The Collection de l'Art Brut exhibition will feature one hundred twenty works from its holdings, including drawings done mainly prior to 1960, a sizeable group of drawing notebooks, a number of written texts, and various works on loan from partner institutions. Archival documents are also to be included: in particular, photographs, exchanges of letters and a film.

Ever since 1976, when the Collection de l'Art Brut was inaugurated, the works by Aloïse have remained on permanent display. The Aloïse. The Solar Ricochet (Aloïse. Le ricochet solaire) show presents nearly one hundred twenty works, including drawings, writings, photographs, archival documents, and a film presenting a unique view of the creator at work. Moreover, several of Aloïse's large-scale pieces will be displayed so as to be seen in their totality. In one room, for the first time visitors will be able to peruse twenty-seven of Aloïse's drawing notebooks, together with writings which, in some cases, will be read out loud and thus aired for all to hear.

Screened all during the exhibition, the film is entitled Le miroir magique d'Aloyse (Aloïse's Magic Mirror). By Florian Campiche, this 23-minute film dates from 1963 and was produced by the University of Lausanne Psychiatric Clinic's Center for Plastic Expression, with the support of F. Hoffmann - La Roche & Cie SA.

The Collection de l'Art Brut is most grateful to Jacqueline Porret-Forel and Céline Muzelle. We also thankfully acknowledge the Collection abcd; the Lille Métropole Musée d’art moderne, d’art contemporain et d’art brut; the Lausanne Institut universitaire d’histoire de la médecine et de la santé publique; and the private collectors.

Practical Information


From June 2 to October 28, 2012

Exhibition at the Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, June 2 to August 26, 2012.

Vernissage on Friday, June 1st, 2012

6:30pm official opening at the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts;
7:30pm official opening at the Collection de l’Art Brut,
with Jaqueline Porret-Forel in attendance

Exhibition Curator

Pascale Marini, curator, Collection de l'Art Brut


Aloïse. Le ricochet solaire, 5 Continents Editions, Milan/Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne/Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne, 2012, 136 pages, 140 color illustrations, CHF 39.-. From November 2012 : CHF 42.-


Aloïse, Collection de l’Art Brut, 2012, 48 pages, 39 color illustrations, CHF 12.- 

Boxed set with two CDs

La Parole aux écrits bruts, boxed set with two CDs and a booklet illustrated with writings by Aloïse, Collection de l’Art Brut, in collaboration with the radio station Espace 2, Swiss broadcasting company Radio Télévision Suisse, 2012, CHF 35.-.

Poster, postcards

Standard Swiss ("world format") size poster (50.4 x 35.6 in) and A3 size (11.7 x 16.5 in) poster of the exhibition; postcards.


The Aloïse. Le ricochet solaire exhibition is partly accessible to persons with reduced mobility.

Free Guided Tours

Saturday June 9, 11am
Tuesday September 4, 6:30pm
Saturday October 6, 11am

Guided tours for groups and classes upon request (in French, German, English, Italian, Chinese and Japanese)

Outsider Art Day

On radio Espace 2, Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS)
Thursday May 31, 2012


Le psychiatre Hans Steck et Aloïse (The psychiatrist Hans Steck and Aloïse)
by Florence Choquard, psychiatry historian. Introduction by Pascale Marini, Exhibition Curator.
October 4, 6:30pm , at the Collection de l'Art Brut.
Prior booking required and subject to availability


Retraites populaires, Espace 2 (Radio Télévision Suisse), 24 Heures, Fondation Leenaards.


The exhibition Aloise. The Solar Ricochet is not accessible to people with reduced mobility.