Born in Paris in 1931. Brought up in the faubourg St.Antoine in a family of manufacturers of wood varnish well-known to cabinet makers. In early adolescence she was transported by the discovery of Egyptian sculpture in the Louvre. After her baccalaureate, she trained at the Grande Chaumière and followed Rivière’s class at the Académie Julian. In 1953 she married a captain in the merchant navy. Though a mother of three children, she continued to practise her art. The great wild spaces of the sea, the mountains and the desert have inspired her vision of life as a dynamic process.

In 1976 her life was torn apart by a meningeal haemorrhage just at the moment when she had found the studio of her dreams in the fifth arrondissement of Paris. This event had a profound effect on her life and art, which have since been focused on the quest for essential and inner truth. During her long convalescence she asserted her personal style - a form of lyrical abstraction - in Peace and started exhibiting regularly in 1978. In parallel,the sculptress has also exhibited watercolours in the same pure style at the frontiers of figurative and abstract art.

In 1986 the theme of life as a soaring or sometimes a thwarted movement was superseded by the full and tender harmony of Hope Mother. This work also announced an upward spiralling movement which found its most accomplished expression in The Angel (1999). In these years Edmée Guyon’s work became more and more diversified. In the watercolours poetic melancholy begins to yield to happier sentiments, accompanied by a new dynamic intensity from 1989 onwards. In 1993 the artist created her collection of Sea-Jewelry (Bijoux-de-la-mer) in bronze, sea-shells and silver. The growing autonomy of each side of her sculptures led to The Sari (1997), which is no longer just one work seen from different angles, but four different works of art in one. Her work has also acquired a new gravity. The theme of innocence no longer excludes the evocation of destructiveness until the two unite in the victory – albeit tragic - of conscious innocence in Antigone (2004).

Two works are in the public collections of the municipality of Granville (Manche). One of these –Arrow Bird - faces the sea high up on the town ramparts. In 1979 the Compagnie Navale des Pétroles commissioned a project for a monument to commemorate the victims of the explosion of the oil-tanker Bételgeuse at Bantry Bay in Ireland. 134 of Edmée Guyon’s sculptures are in private collections in France and abroad : Abu Dhabi, Berlin, Brussels, Hamburg, The Hague, London, Munich, New York, San Francisco, Tokyo and Vienna. In 1983 her work was the last to be discovered and exhibited at Saint- Germain-des-Prés by Édouard Loeb, the famous art dealer of Max Ernst and Jean Arp. In 2002 an exhibition at the Hague marked the international recognition of her work.

Ronald McDougall

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