Thérèse Bonnelalbay

1931 to 1980, France

Thérèse Bonnelalbay was a coal miner’s daughter born in Magalas, a small village in southern France. In 1950 she moved to Marseille and worked as a nurse. She married Joseph Guglielmi in 1959 and had two children.

She was also an active member of the French Communist Party. With her husband’s support, Thérèse Bonnelalbay began drawing in 1963, and continued to do so until her tragic demise. From 1968 onwards, the family lived near Paris and Thérèse Bonnelalbay worked as a social worker for children. In the beginning she drew profiles of figures and forms found in nature. Her later works of art became more abstract. They contain many small elements and their style is reminiscent of hieroglyphs. Her work allows for associations with dreams or mediumistic influences, and every drawing creates an ensemble for itself. Jean Dubuffet was familiar with her drawings and supported her work as an artist by writing letters, purchasing her drawings and through personal encounters. Thérèse Bonnelalbay’s work can be seen, for example, in the collection abcd/Bruno Decharme, France.

 

Selected works