Hélène Guinepied, artiste peintre, va renaître!

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Hélène Guinepied (1883-1937), painter, must find her place again in the history of arts !

About our project:  

Be a part of an amazing story !

Though trained in Social Science, Sophie Mouchet’s interest and eye for the arts eventually took her down a very different path when, in 1999 she purchased a small oil painting of a landscape from an antique dealer in Burgundy. It was simply signed “ H. Guinepied”.  For many years it hung in her office and, curious to know more about the artist, she periodically searched for the name in various sources, all to no avail. It wasn’t until 2007 that she discovered the name on “Joconde”, the French government’s website of national museum holdings. It mentioned a painting in the Municipal Museum of Nevers, “Dans la vieille cour”, which had been shown at the Salon des Artistes Français in Paris in 1911 and was signed “Hélène Guinepied”.  At this point, her curiosity piqued, Sophie Mouchet launched into what were to be many years of ‘treasure hunting’, one small discovery leading to another until the life and work of an entirely forgotten woman of formidable talent and exceptional drive was pieced together. Today over eighty works by Hélène Guinepied have come to light and more are sure to follow. 

"La vague bleue", 1930

Many were the coincidences along this path of discovery.  Though Hélène Guinepied was trained in Ecole des Beaux-arts de Paris she spent the greater part of her life in Saint-Moré, a town in Burgundy that happens to be only 45 kilometers from the hamlet where Sophie Mouchet has resided with her family since 1996. With easy access to the area Sophie was able to interview people in the town who had known the family, or who knew stories of the family, and to pick up leads to people who owned paintings and drawings of  Hélène Guinepied. In the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, Sophie found catalogues of the art exhibits that took place in Paris in the first half of the 20th century in which her name occasionally appeared, further helping to establish this female artist’s place in the artistic world of that time. 

All the more astonishing, at the Museé des Arts Décoratifs were found catalogues of exhibits held in the 1920s and 30s mentioning Hélène Guinepied in yet another guise, that of pedagogue.  In an unprecedented initiative the artist had began and lead a socialist-minded school to develop artistic talent among the working class, an initative which was taken up throughout France and as far away as Lausanne.  Sadly, the political chaos in Europe before and after World War II ultimately led to the demise of this valiant enterprise. 

Then there was the family chateau in Saint-Moré, now in near ruins, traces of frescos still visible here and there, once lavish curtains hanging in tatters, whispers of the artistic atmosphere in which Hélène would have lived and worked. It was on the grounds of the Chateau that Sophie eventually found the tombs of Hélène, her parents and her siblings.

Help us to revive this exceptional woman  

Her poetic and strong works are inspired by japonism but also the Nabis, Van Gogh, Signac and Bakst.

Hélène Guinepied vers 1920 (au centre)
Hélène Guinepied (in the middle), 1920

You can discover some of her paintings and drawings at: www.helene-guinepied.fr

Les Brochets (detail), 1922


The Musée d’Orsay has recently shown great interest in the artist and the research work, which has been carried out. The museum curator specializing in Decorative Arts recently wrote:

« Thank you for our exchanges regarding Hélène Guinepied, and reminding us through your research of this underappreciated artist.»

The important research that you led reveals a completely original figure and yet very representative of the artistic debate at the turn of the XIXth and XXth centuries.

I was able to share with several of my colleagues the discoveries which you made; the work of H. Guinepied arouses a real interest.

I hope that you can continue to promote her work and to make known this artist - particularly in the education system and  her -  social entrepreneurship activity before the concept existed, what seems to me to be a historical precedent.

Anyway, I reaffirm to you the expression of all my interest and hope that we shall have one day the opportunity to introduce the work of H. Guinepied to a wider public, just as much as to reinstate her in the artistic landscape of the beginning of the XXth century. "

Les Danseuses, linocut, circa 1930

Who are we ?

The Association Hélène Guinepied was created in 2013 by Sophie Mouchet, expert on the artist. The aim of the association is the development, the promotion and the protection of Hélène Guinepied's work. Sustained by its members and active supporters, the Hélène Guinepied association wants to give back to Helene Guinepied her place in the history of art. 

Our association lives today mainly by private donations, we need you to reach our goal !

Hélène Guinepied is on the verge of rebirth, with you she is about to succeed!

Do you know that Camille Claudel, today a very famous sculptor in France and around the world, was forgotten until 1988? It is the movie that was dedicated to her which put her back in the limelight. An immense forgotten artist can be reborn! Hélène Guinepied needs you, us all, to find the place which she deserves. An extraordinary adventure can begin thanks to your generosity.

For what will our fundraising be used to ? 

We hope to collect 7000 €

This money will be of used for the budget of the first ever exhibition dedicated to Hélène Guinepied, in Sens, Burgundy, in November 2018.

It is very important that we can participate in the financing of the printing of a high-quality exhibition catalogue, because it will be the first reference book dedicated to Hélène Guinepied: 3000 euros are necessary for us to complete the budget of the city of Sens.

We also wish to participate in the costs of restoration of drawings intended for the exhibition : with 300 euros, we  can finance the restoration of one drawing: folds, traces of humidity and dust, insect damage repair. About ten drawings need to be restored, for a total 3000-euro budget. An effective  restoration is essential, feasible and spectacular! Look at the example below (Gouache and India ink, circa 1925):

                     The drawing before restoration
          The drawing after restoration


We also need to finance the update and the maintenance of the website dedicated to Hélène Guinepied, which is essential for communicating about the coming events. The current version of the site is obsolete and does not allow us anymore to use its full functionality. A 1000-euro budget is necessary for the migration to the new version of the site, and one year's assistance for the adding of the content, as well as - training which will allow us to be independent for the future management of the website.

If we raise more than 7000 €

If by chance, our target is exceeded, we can launch the restoration of the painting "La vaisselle", an oil on canvas of large format (133 x 102 cms) about 1912. Found  in a tower of the castle of Saint-Moré, in the Yonne, former property of the family Guinepied, this painting is very deteriorated. Removed from its frame, it remained folded, on the floor, during almost 100 years then exposed to the humidity, the grime, the excrements of birds and mice.... You can help us to save it so that we can donate it to a museum.

20 000 euros are necessary to restore the original appearance of the painting as it was when it was exhibited at the the Salon des Artistes Français at the beginning of the XXth century. By extraordinary luck, the preparatory drawing was found 5 years ago, providing the future restorers with vital information about the final appearance of this work.

With 3000 euros, we can finance the thorough cleaning.

With 3000 additional euros, we can finance the consolidation of the paintwork : restoring the paint surface and filling the gaps between the paint ‘scales’. 

It will be necessary to add another 14 000 euros to finance the pictorial reinstatement, and restore the original appearance of the picture, ready to be exhibited.


How can you support our projects  ?

Give online on this page : www.dartagnans.fr register and login

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Contact us !





La légende de la rivière, oil on canvas, 1921

La légende de la rivière, oil on canvas, 1921


They support us:




Pledge €10 or more
Or 3.4€ after tax deduction
3 donations
Your name on our website
Your name appears on the website dedicated to Hélène Guinepied, on the contributors page.
Pledge €20 or more
Or 6.8€ after tax deduction
12 donations
Your name in the exhibition catalogue
Your name appears in the exhibition catalogue on the list of contributors + previous reward
Pledge €50 or more
Or 17€ after tax deduction
17 donations
A high quality reproduction of a painting
A high quality poster showing a reproduction of a painting by Hélène Guinepied + previous rewards
Pledge €100 or more
Or 34€ after tax deduction
13 donations
A guided tour of the exhibition
A guided tour of the exhibition especially for you + previous rewards
Pledge €200 or more
Or 68€ after tax deduction
7 donations
Book : "Hélène Guinepied, 1883-1937"
The biography of Hélène Guinepied issued in 2013 + all previous rewards
Pledge €500 or more
Or 170€ after tax deduction
3 donations
The exhibition catalogue
You will receive the exhibition catalogue, the first ever published + all previous rewards
Pledge €1,000 or more
Or 340€ after tax deduction
0 donation
Livre + catalogue + membre d'honneur invité à tous les évènements
In addition to all the previous rewards, you become an honorary member of the Association Hélène Guinepied an you are invited to all events.
Pledge without a reward
4 donations
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