Fletcher/Copenhaver Fine Art
Alix Aymé (1894-1989)

In September of 2012 an exhibition about the School of Fine Arts in Hanoi opened at the Cernuschi Museum in Paris. It was the second museum exhibition that year to draw attention to the work of Alix Aymé, and a magnificent lacquered cabinet by the artist was arguably the star attraction of the exhibition which focused on the art that was produced by the Vietnamese students of the school and their French teachers during the colonial period before the Second World War. “We could not have had this exhibition ten years ago,” said Christine Shimizu-Huet, director of the Cernuschi. “The loss of their colonies, especially Indochina, was so painful for the French that no one wanted to think about anyone who had anything to do with what happened there.”

And Aymé was inextricably linked to the French colonial experience in Indochina. Not only did she live and work for many years in Hanoi, where she was instrumental in the revival of the ancient art of lacquer that she taught at the School of Fine Arts, but she was married to General Georges Aymé, who eventually became the Commander of the French Forces in Indochina. In the 1930s, Aymé was sent by the French government to both Angkor Wat and Luang Prabang to do research for the Colonial Exposition that was to be held in Paris the following year. While in Luang Prabang, she became friendly with the Laotian Royal family and was commissioned by the king to do a series of murals in the Royal Palace depicting everyday life in Laos. Today the palace is a museum and the murals have been designated a national treasure.

In March of 1945, when the Japanese Army took control of Indochina, General Aymé was interned in concentration camps and Alix and her sons remained in Hanoi under harsh living conditions until the end of the war. Her older son, Michel, was murdered by the Viets in an anti-French riot shortly after the surrender of Japan. His death at the age of 19 became a tragic touchstone in her life and a frequent inspiration for her later art. The Aymés returned to France late in 1945. General Aymé, the older brother of the celebrated writer Marcel Aymé, never really recovered from the brutality of their treatment at the hands of the Japanese and died in 1950. Alix sought refuge in her art.

In 1948 she was offered a commission by a convent in Normandy to create in lacquer a Stations of the Cross for the convent’s chapel. At first she turned down the commission. She was not a devout Catholic; she was a divorced woman and still suffering from the loss of her son. But the sisters of Notre Dame de Fidélité in the town of Douvres-la-Délivrande eventually persuaded her, and for over a year she worked on the 14 panels. The Passion of Christ and the maternal presence of Mary affected her profoundly and when she had finished, she wrote a very moving letter to the mother superior: “I truly did this with all my heart, and in exchange, for me it was an enormous comfort. The months that I lived continually with Christ and his Passion, so dolorous a subject, helped me regain a measure of peace and I am very grateful to the community of sisters of Our Lady of Fidelity.” In 2010 the French government declared the 14 lacquer panels an historic monument. They are on display in the convent chapel for which they were created, a chapel which also contains sumptuous decorations by the great glass artist René Lalique, including an enormous crystal crucifix over an altar also of his design. In the many years that remained to her, Aymé continued to paint, draw, exhibit, and travel. Her work reflected both her early training with the great Nabi painter, Maurice Denis, her mentor and life-long friend, and the Asian influences which also suffused her work. She mastered and worked in various media, not only lacquer and oil, but also the delicate and difficult techniques of watercolor on silk and reverse painting on glass. She was a master of the art of drawing in pencil, charcoal, pen & ink. Her subjects include exotic landscapes, brilliant still lifes, and tender portraits of children. All of her work displays her extremely refined sensibility made manifest with extraordinary skill. Alix Aymé died on her 95th birthday, 21 March, 1989, while putting the finishing touches to a lacquer panel.

Her work is found in a number of important private and public collections world-wide, including the Cabinet des Dessins of the Louvre and the Musée des Années Trente in Paris, the Musée des Beaux-Arts in La Rochelle, the Royal Palace in Luang Prabang, and the Evergreen Museum and Library of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Her first American museum exhibition was held at the Evergreen Museum and Library of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, March - September, 2012. A feature-length documentary film on the extraordinary life and work of Alix Aymé is being planned.


Study of the Head of a Young Boy

Alix Aymé 1894-1989
Study of the Head of a Young Boy

Charcoal drawing on off-white beige paper
Signed, lower right: “Alix Aymé”
Provenance: Estate of the artist; Private collection, Paris
Sheet size: 8 ½ X 6 ¾ inches
Frame size: 15 X 13½ inches
In a handcrafted frame from RG Les Cadres Gault, Paris
FC07101   $7,500
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Study of a Young Boy (François)

Alix Aymé 1894-1989
Study of a Young Boy (François)

Pastel and charcoal on wove paper
Signed in pencil, lower right: “alix aymé”
Sheet size: 13 X 18¾ inches
Frame size: 21½ X 27⅛inches
1930s
FC12060   $16,000
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A Blue-Eyed Baby

Alix Aymé 1894-1989
A Blue-Eyed Baby

Watercolor & charcoal on heavy wove paper
Signed, lower center” “Alix Aymé”
Sheet size: 15¾ X 21⅝ inches
Frame size: 24 X 30 inches
In a handcrafted frame from RG Les Cadres Gault, Paris
FC14044   $14,000
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François Holding His Chin in His Hand

Alix Aymé 1894-1989
François Holding His Chin in His Hand

Charcoal drawing
Signed, lower left: “Alix Aymé”
Provenance: Estate of the artist; Private collection, Paris
Sheet size: 8½ X 6¾ inches
Frame size: 14¾ X 13 inches
FC12099   $7,500
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A Portrait of François Facing Right

Alix Aymé 1894-1989
A Portrait of François Facing Right

Charcoal drawing
Signed, lower left: “Alix Aymé”
Provenance: Estate of the artist; Private collection, Paris
Sheet size: 8½ X 6¾ inches
Frame size: 14¾ X 13 inches
FC12100   $7,500
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Head of a Young Boy Facing Right

Alix Aymé 1894-1989
Head of a Young Boy Facing Right

Watercolor and charcoal
Signed, lower left: “Alix Aymé”
Provenance: Private Collection, Paris
Sheet size: 9¾ X 6⅝ inches
Frame size: 17½ X 14¾ inches
FC12063   $8,500
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Three Young Children in Blue and White

Alix Aymé 1894-1989
Three Young Children in Blue and White

Watercolor, pastel, and charcoal
Signed, lower left:
Sheet size: 20 1/8 inches X 26 1/4 inches
Frame size: 33 X 27 inches
In a hand-crafted frame from Les Cadres Gault, Paris
FC10051   $18,500
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Reclining Male Figure, Facing Away

Alix Aymé 1894-1989
Reclining Male Figure, Facing Away

Charcoal drawing
Estate stamp, lower right
Provenance: Estate of the artist; Private collection, Paris
Sheet size: 6⅛ X 9⅛ inches
Frame size:12 X 14½ inches
In a hand-crafted frame from RG Les Cadres Gault, Paris
FC12102   $4,800
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Young Girl Lying Down, Reading, Her Arm Outstretched

Alix Aymé 1894-1989
Young Girl Lying Down, Reading, Her Arm Outstretched

Young Girl Lying Down, Reading, Her Arm Outstretched
Signed, lower left: “A. Aymé”
Provenance: Provenance: Estate of the artist; Private collection, Paris
Sheet size: 15⅜ X 21⅞ inches
Frame size: 21¼ X 27¾ inches
In a handcrafted frame by RG Les Cadres Gault, Paris
FC14005   $12,000
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A Young Woman in a Lavender Dress, Kneeling

Alix Aymé 1894-1989
A Young Woman in a Lavender Dress, Kneeling

Watercolor & pencil
Estate stamp, lower left
Provenance: Estate of the artist; Private collection, Paris
Sheet size: 9⅝ X 12⅝ inches
Frame size: 16⅝ X 17⅞ inches
In a handcrafted frame from RG Les Cadres Gault,Paris
FC12097   $8,500
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A Child Wearing a Ribbon

Alix Aymé 1894-1989
A Child Wearing a Ribbon

Pencil & charcoal drawing
Signed, lower right:
Provenance: Estate of the artist
Sheet size: 8½ X 6¾ inches
Frame size: 12⅞ X12¾ inches
In a hand-crafted frame from RG Les Cadres Gault Paris
FC12101   $7,500
View • Print • Purchase


Study of a Baby

Alix Aymé 1894-1989
Study of a Baby

Charcoal drawing
Signed, lower right: “Alix Aymé”
Sheet size: 6¾ X 9½
Frame size: 13¼ X 16 inches
In a hand-crafted frame from RG Les Cadres Gault, Paris
FC17022   $7,500
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Sleeping Infant

Alix Aymé 1894-1989
Sleeping Infant

Charcoal and watercolor
Unsigned
Sheet size: 9⅛ X 13⅞ inches
Frame size: 15½ X 20 inches
In a handcrafted frame from RG Les Cadres Gault, Paris
FC17024   $7,500
View • Print • Purchase




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