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Victor SIMON (1903 - 1917)

“My first painting… was definitely an entry into another world, a presence which, at every moment, were directed towards repulsive conceptions of the life of other systems that were planted in the depths of the infinite (…)” wrote Victor Simon in 1974 in “Forces Spirituelles” (“Spiritual Forces”), a review he founded in 1947.   

Born in 1903 in Bruay-en-Artois, son of a miner, Victor Simon began working at the mine early. He obtained a position in the accounting department of the mine, which he left in 1930 to open a bistro. In 1933, Victor Simon began to paint large formats, after receiving a message from above. This voice led him to make his first monumental canvas, two meters by four, entitled “Resurrection” which was exhibited at the Salon des Independants in 1935. Then he met Augustin Lesage, who lived in the same region. Like Lesage, Victor Simon began to paint large paintings with decorative motifs and light colors.

Victor Simon was first and foremost a “spiritual man whose mediumnity expressed itself by painting” (Paul Duchein, Regards Éblouis, Rencontres d’art 2014). The influence of his works extends well beyond spiritual circles. He relies on his personal experiences to realize his compositions, where Christian figures mixed with elements of other religions appear, a kind of religious syncretism. Books and lectures on the subject of spiritualism, written and given by Victor Simon himself, accompany his works. In 1947 he was named honorary president of the Circle of Experimental and Scientific Spiritualism of Paris. The same year, he founded the review “Forces Spirituelles” (“Spiritual Forces”) for which he remained director until his death. He then held many functions related to Spiritualism, including President of the Circle of Psychological Studies of Arras in 1949, President of the Northern Spiritualist Federation and delegate of the Union Spirite Française in 1954. In 1968 he returned to settle in Arras where he made his last big canvas, the “Toile Jaune” (“Yellow Canvas”), in 1971, five years before his death. 

His works are particularly rare. They are notably a part of the collection of the Museum of Art Brut in Lausanne.

In the autumn of 2019, LaM Lille Métropole Museum of Modern Art, Contemporary Art and Art Brut, presents the exhibition “Lesage, Simon, Crépin : peintres, spirites et guérriseurs”. (“Lesage, Simon, Crépin: painters, spiritualists and healers”.)

portait victor simon