Catherine Viollet
(born in 1953, Chambéry)

Trained at the École des Beaux-Arts de Quimper and the Arts Décoratifs de Nice, she appears for the first time on the art scene in 1981 during the exhibition Finir en beauté organized by the art critic Bernard Lamarche-Vadel. Soon after, she associates with a French art movement, “Figuration Libre”.

Rapidly, she develops her singular style inspired by Maillol's sculpture or Amazon Indian's bodies, and the power of forms and energy emerging from rich gestures in paintings.  Instead of aiming at an accurate representation of subjects, Catherine Viollet tries to find her proper rhythm in both sketch lines and color energies.

Several recurrences appear in her paintings: the presence of drawing increasingly coming to the foreground; the importance of materials as an integral part of the work: cardboard, colored fabrics, back of leatherette, decorated linoleum, canvas coated with very fine pumice, plastic carpet mats; the disconnection. This means that each element of the painting - drawing, colors, materials - has its own life and allows the air to circulate and reinvent the reality.

More recently, this attraction for the air leads her to pay attention to the weather maps consulted in a daily newspaper. She develops a fascination for the lines of atmospheric disturbances measured using the scientific method (The time step of the model), a purely formal and virtual abstraction, some instability and the total ephemerality of the results, the echo of anger in the sky and the cruelty of its effects...


She is represented in numerous public and private collections. Especially, on the occasion of the exhibition “Libres Figurations, années 80”, she was invited at the Hélène and Edouard Leclerc Fund for Culture curated by Pascale Le Thorel.

Exhibitions selected

Solo exhibitions

2015 - La ligne végétale, Chapel Saint-Jacques, Clohars-Carnoët, France

2014 - Dix heures et demie... une journée particulière, Moments Artistiques, Paris, France

2012 - Fenêtre, Atelier Blanc, Villefranche de Rouergue, France

2010 - Entre-deux, l'H du Siège Gallery, Valenciennes, France

2008 - Le pas de temps du modèle, The Sucy-en-Brie castle, Sucy-en-brie, France

2005 - Suspens, Fondation Ecureuil for contemporay art, Toulouse, France

2001 - Faure Museum, Aix-les-Bains, France

1999 - Julio Gonzalez Gallery, Arcueil, France

1996 - 1997 - 1999 - Corinne Caminade Gallery, Paris, France

1996 - Alliance Française, Nagoya, Japan

1992 - Les seuils de la métamorphose, Kadans Gallery, The Hague, Belgium

1989 - Chapel of Visitandines (DRAC Picardie), Amiens, France

1986 - Institut Français, Ankara, Turkey

1986 - Oniris Gallery, Rennes, France

1986 - Manus Presse Gallery, Stuttgart, Germany

1983 - La trêve des héroïnes, Ch. Cheneau Gallery, Paris, France


Group exhibitions

2019 - Inciser le temps. Une année en peinture: acte I, Galerie muncipale Jean-Collet, Vitry-sur-Seine
2018 - Libres figurations. Années 80, Fonds Hélène et Edouard Leclerc, Landerneau

2017 - A la lumière de Matisse, Musée de Vence

2011 - Identité de genre, Centre d'art contemporain Passages, Troyes

2010 - Pensées détachées, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris.

2010 - Un hommage à Bernard Lamarche-Vadel, Artothèque, Caen

2009 - Dans l'oeil du critique. Bernard Lamarche-Vadel et les artistes, Musée d'Art Moderne, Paris.

2008 - Assises, Ministère de la Culture, Paris

2003 - A Paul Gauguin, Musée Gauguin, Tahiti

1999 - Figuration/non figuration, musée de Larissa, Grèce

1998 - Au fil de l'eau, Musée de l'Electricité, Lisbonne

1993 - Eloge de la peinture, musée de Toulon

1991 - Portraits actuels, FRAC Orléans

1991 - Un regard sur l'art contemporain - collection Agnès b, Musée Picasso, Antibes

1988 - Misère et grandeur du corps, galerie Agnès b, Paris

1986 - FIAC, galerie Christian Cheneau, Paris

1984 - Décrire la couleur, Frac Bretagne, Rennes

1982 - Statement one, Holly Salomon gallery, New York

1982 - Figuration libre à Nice, chez Ben, Nice

1981 - Finir en beauté, chez Bernard Lamarche-Vadel, Paris (avec Blanchard, Boisrond, Combas, Di Rosa, Alberola, Blais, Maurige).




Regional Foundation of contemporary art (FRAC Midi-Pyrénées), Toulouse, France

National Foundation for Contemporary Art (FNAC), Paris, France

City of Paris Museum of Modern Art, Paris, France

Museum of contemporary art of Val-de-Marne, Vitry-sur-Seine, France

Paul Gauguin Museum, Tahiti, French Polynesia

National Library of France, Paris, France

Corporate Collections: Opel France, Bank BNP Paribas, Group of Brittany Ferries…


Artistic residences and Prizes

1996 - Residence Alliance française, Sendai, Japan

1985 – Residence for 8 month, Louxor, Egypt

1984 - Lauréate Painting Prize, Salon de Montrouge, Montrouge, France