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Paule Vézelay

Born 1892, Bristol. Died 1984.

The daughter of a leading ear, nose and throat specialist, her real name was Marjorie Agnes Watson-Williams. She studied painting and etching at the Bristol Municipal School of Art from 1909-12. In 1912 she moved to London and after a brief period at the Slade School of Fine Art, studied drawing, painting and book illustration at the London School of Art. She also attended evening classes in lithography at Chelsea Polytechnic. In 1918 she exhibited at the New English Art Club and in 1922 became a member of the London Group.

In 1926 she decided to settle in Paris and adopted the name Paule Vézelay which she felt was a more appropriate name for the type of work she was producing. In 1934 she was asked to join the group Abstraction-Création which had been founded to bring together the leading artists of all countries working in non-figurative styles. In 1939 she returned to England. She became a member of the Artists' International Association and the British representative of Groupe Espace, formed to promote links between architects and abstract artists. In 1958 she was elected a Fellow of the Society of Industrial Artists for her work as a textile designer and illustrator. In 1983 the Tate Gallery organised a retrospective exhibition of 'one of the first British artists to commit themselves totally and irrevocably to the abstract movement'.

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