Henriette Zéphir - February 3 through April 30, 2017 - February 3 through April 30, 2017

Henriette Zéphir - February 3 through April 30, 2017
Compellingly incited by a presence she felt at her side, Henriette Zéphir (1920-2012) took to drawing on May 3rd, 1961. Under the influence of a "guiding" hand, she would execute her pencil, ballpoint pen and India ink drawings in a single continuous line. Henriette Zéphir did not think of herself as a medium, but as a channel through which energies could travel. She thus brings to mind the spiritualist Art Brut creators who, feeling linked with the afterlife, create in terms of what the spirits dictate to them. Thus, too, and in the same fashion as Augustin Lesage, Laure Pigeon and Jeanne Tripier, this creator made no claim to be the author of her drawings, asserting instead that she was merely obeying her "guide." As such, she did not consider herself to be an artist, yet she would work assiduously at creating, sometimes up to ten hours a day!

During the 1960s, Jean Dubuffet became interested in spiritualist creations in particular. He expanded his collections to include such remarkable works as Augustin Lesage's very first canvas, and drawings by Laure Pigeon. During this time, too, he visited Henriette Zéphir in Nice, acquiring twenty of her drawings in February 1966, together with one more purchased two years later.  In 2016, thanks to a generous bequest by Renée and Pierre Zéphir (Henriette's children), the Collection de l'Art Brut was able to acquire ten more of Henriette Zéphir's new compositions (some of which were executed only shortly before her death).

The Collection de l’Art Brut proudly presents its first solo show devoted to the work of Henriette Zéphir. Visitors will see a wide selection of drawings from our holdings in Lausanne, together with a major set of works on loan by Henriette's family. The display features compositions from various periods in this creator's production, highlighting the singularity and diversity of an oeuvre yet little known to the wide public.

Jean Dubuffet was wont to characterize these surprising pictorial creations as "guipure lace." Meanwhile, Alain Bouillet, the author of the exhibition catalogue text, defines them in the following terms: "finely crafted ensembles, fishnet tracery, sprawling swarms of iridescent billows, protruding eruptive flames, cosmogonies in their native state, [all] provided under the guise of 'embroideries'." 

Exhibition Curator :
Anic Zanzi, Curator, Collection de l’Art Brut

The Henriette Zéphir exhibition in the medias:
24Heures, "Henriette Zéphir est venue avec ses «guides» à l’Art Brut", 4.02.2017
La Liberté, "Henriette Zéphir, vent d'énergies", 4.02.2017
RSI, "Lo spiritismo di Henriette Zéphir", 16.02.2017
Azione, "Il flusso delle energie latenti", 21.03.2017

Practical information


Du 3 february - 30 april 2017

Opening reception

Thursday 2 february 2017, 6:30 pm

Exhibition curator

Anic Zanzi, conservatrice, Collection de l’Art Brut


Henriette Zéphir, Lausanne, Collection de l’Art Brut, 2017, 48 pages, 30 ill. couleur, avec un texte inédit d’Alain Bouillet.


Henriette Zéphir, le souffle des esprits, documentaire de Mario Del Curto et Bastien Genoux ( 18 min, 2012 ).
Diffusé en continu dans l’espace d’exposition.


The Henriette Zéphir exhibition is not accessible to persons with reduced mobility.

Free guided tour
duration 60 min

Saturday 25 march 2017, 2:15 pm
online booking, within the limits of the seats available.

Guided tours

Upon request for groups and classes: in French, German, English and Italian.


The exhibition Henriette Zéphir - February 3 through April 30, 2017 is not accessible to people with reduced mobility.