Marie-Laure de Noailles peintre

from 9 March to 5 May 2024
Marie-Laure de Noailles peintre - © Villa Noailles Hyères

from March 9 to May 5, 2024

47 Montée Noailles
83400 Hyères

Exhibition open from Wednesday to Sunday
from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM.
Closed on Monday, Tuesday, and holidays
Free admission

Guided tours from Wednesday to Sunday at 3:00 PM
no reservations required.


In continuation of the Centenary celebrations of Villa Noailles and the centennial year of the Surrealist manifesto, this exhibition aims to explore a lesser-known aspect of Marie-Laure de Noailles’ life.

Renowned patron, muse, fashion icon, social figure, writer, and poetess, she nonetheless identifies herself as an artist.

Photographs taken at Clos Saint-Bernard in Hyères reveal Marie-Laure de Noailles in her studio, where she creates works initially inspired by Christian Bérard, an artist friend who also painted her portrait. She develops a pictorial work later influenced by surrealism, using a vocabulary close to those who would become both her friends and peers, such as Dorothea Tanning, Max Ernst, and Oscar Dominguez.

With the latter, with whom she maintains close ties, she notably explores the surrealist technique of decalcomania.

An eccentric personality, the Viscountess of Noailles defies conventions; she embodies, through her personality as much as her eclectic taste, the avant-garde of the Roaring Twenties. However, the friend of painters is not content with being the irreverent hostess and the tasteful patron.

Self-taught, she, who signs her literary and then pictorial works under the name ’Marie Laure,’ often followed by a stylized tree leaf, ventures into painting in 1946.

At the age of 44, without formal training but enriched by a life in continuous contact with artists, nourished by exchanges with Parisian and European intellectual figures, Marie-Laure de Noailles creates, from 1946 until her death in January 1970, oils on canvas, lithographs, etchings, paintings on stones and plates, ballet sets and costumes, and even sculptures.

Furthermore, 24 scrapbooks (albums compiling various original drawings, documents, and memories), some of which are featured in the exhibition, serve to document these works. This rigorous and organized data collection reflects an artistic ambition characteristic of a painter, rather than the creation of a personal journal.

In 1948, Marie-Laure de Noailles designs the sets for a ballet titled ’Le Combat,’ by the American William Dollar for the Ballets de Paris of Roland Petit. Then, in 1953, Ilia Zdanevitch, known as Iliazd, an editor and poet who worked with Picasso and Miró, commissions her to illustrate, with sixty-six etchings, the reissued work of Jean-François de Boissière, ’Traité du Balet.’

Marie-Laure de Noailles’ work has been exhibited in prestigious galleries since 1949, notably at the Hugo Gallery in New York, partly founded by Elizabeth Arden and directed by the renowned Greek gallerist Alexander Iolas. The latter will later showcase her works in his own New York gallery. Her creations have also been exhibited in Italy at the Galleria del Naviglio and in France at the Galerie du Dragon and the Galerie Kleber (future Galerie Jean Fournier).

In 1964, supported by the critic and writer Patrick Waldberg, she participates in the historical exhibition ’Le Surréalisme. Sources - Histoire - Affinités’ at the Galerie Charpentier in Paris, alongside, notably, Jean Arp, Victor Brauner, Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, André Masson, and Man Ray.

Marie-Laure de Noailles’ works are now preserved in the French collections of the National Fund for Contemporary Art and at the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris, and have been part of notable private collections such as that of the gallery owner and resistance fighter Daniel Cordier.

This exhibition will unfold in two parts: this winter of 2024, the presentation of the work of Marie-Laure de Noailles, the painter.

This summer, the selection of works from the exhibition ’Marie Laure, painter.’ will be enriched by ’Conversation,’ a subjective selection of works by artists of her time, who may or may not have influenced her work. Among them are Dora Maar, Jean Cocteau, Salvador Dalí, Oscar Dominguez, Max Ernst, Georges Hugnet, Léonor Fini, Maurice Henry, Valentine Hugo, Jean Hugo, Jacqueline Lamba, Meret Oppenheim, Felix Labisse, Lucien Coutaud, Marcel Jean, Francis Picabia, Dorothea Tanning, Yves Tanguy, and Toyen.

Marie-Laure de Noailles peintre - © Villa Noailles Hyères
Marie-Laure de Noailles peintre - © Villa Noailles Hyères
Marie-Laure de Noailles peintre - © Villa Noailles Hyères
Marie-Laure de Noailles peintre - © Villa Noailles Hyères
Marie-Laure de Noailles peintre - © Villa Noailles Hyères
Marie-Laure de Noailles peintre - © Villa Noailles Hyères
Marie-Laure de Noailles peintre - © Villa Noailles Hyères

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