Art Passions: Fairy Tales are the Myths We Live By Art Passions: Myth, Fairy Tale, and Fable

Adrienne Segur Biography: Evolution of Artistic Style

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Adrienne Segur and her husband, Mounir Hafez

Evolution of a Style

Adrienne Segur made Paris her home until 1950 in a home provided for her by the Flammarion publishing house -- ten kilometers south of Blois, by Gervais Forest. There, she was surrounded by animals, just like the heroines in her stories. We can therefore assume that her husband and she did not have a life organized in the conventional manner that was usual for their time. It is important to note that 1936 to 1939, she was the director of the children's page for the daily Le Figaro. She designed all the illustrations in this section. Then came the War and its troubles. The couple was denounced as "English" and arrested.

The illustrator, whose eyes were beautiful and limpid, attached great importance to the expression of her characters, where show subtle touch-ups make the final impression Her other-wordly expression inspired the photographer Erwin Blumenfeld, who had taken up residence in Paris after 1936, creating beautiful black and white portraits before the war, in a style half-way between the Harcourt Studios and Surrealism.

In this photo, she should have been around 35, a time when she frequently met the most celebrated figures of her age. Among the relics bearing witness to her friendships are portraits warmly dedicated to Adrienne by the actress Joan Crawford and her spouse during those years, Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

The Styles of Adrienne Segur

The style and even the name of Adrienne Segur evolved throughout her strange career, as did her signature. And it was under the name of Adrienne Novel that she did her first illustrations. Without doubt inspired by the artists of her time, she signed the compositions in black and white for Andre Maurois's The Country of Thirty-Six Thousand Wishes in 1929. She published again, this time in color, during the 1930, The Adventures of Cotonnet [The Adventures of Cotonnet], (her Cotonnet Aviateur est dedicated to the French humanist, Armand Marquiset). She made up the stories, writing in a style that one could consider, in some places, just a little too precious.

As proof of her long-term interest in fairy tales is a surprising version of The Fairy Tales of Perrault by Adrienne Segur, dating from 1934 and published by Sudel. In an oblong format, text that she herself adapted is illustrated in black on every page, and signed with the monogram A in a square. The work shows another time in her evolution, her compositions, spanning both pages, are graphic and abstract. The features consist of short lines, curves, and dots, evoking the manner of Maggie Salcedo. The talent is evident, the composition extraordinary.

Other Biography Pages

1: Cover Photo      

2: Birth, Marriage to Mounir Hafez, Biographical Information      

3: Evolution of Style      

4: Later Work      

5: Flammarion      

6: Legacy      

7: List of Published Works      

8: Endpiece