December 15, 2010

The Women Destroyed : first and only collaboration between the Beauvoir sisters

If one knows the brilliant career of the young Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986), Hélène (1910-2001), youngest sister, perhaps less supported by her parents, takes time to choose her career. She mets with her sister's friends and goes out with Lionel de Roulet - then a student of Jean-Paul Sartre - who will become the companion of a lifetime. With the support of her sister freshly received professor "agrégé" in Philosophy, Hélène rents her first painter studio. In 1936, she exhibits for the first time in Paris and gets nice reviews. She is recognized by his peers long before Simone. Surprisingly, Hélène and Simone have worked together only once, for a book, The Women Destroyed, while it seems that the two sisters maintained, a priori, a quite relationship. Helen, after Sartre's death, made many round trips to Paris to support Simone. Curiously, after the death of the latter, Hélène received no authority over the affairs of her sister. It is the late adopted daughter of Simone, Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir, who became the legitimate heir of her mother's work. In 1990, Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir published Letters to Sartre, in which Simone described her sister as an artist of little talent. Hélène was destroyed by these intimal revelations.

Currently, the librairie Loliée offers :
  • [BEAUVOIR (Hélène de)] - BEAUVOIR (Simone de). La Femme Rompue. Illustré de 16 burins originaux par Hélène de Beauvoir. Paris, Gallimard, 1964, in-4, in leaves, publisher's covers and case. First edition with 16 original engravings by Hélène de Beauvoir. Limited to 143 copies, one of 7 the non-commercial issues on Lana vellum.  Copy with a dedication by the author and the artist.