Jones Julie & Ziebinska-Lewandowska Karolina, She is modern, she is a photographer, exh. cat., Centre Pompidou, Málaga (October 2015 – January 2016), Paris, Editions Centre Pompidou, 2015→
Yvonne Chevalier, exh. cat, Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Chalon-sur-Saône (September – November 1991), 1991
150 ans de féminisme en photo, Galerie des bibliothèques, Paris, November 2010 – March 2011
Coming from a well-to-do background, Yvonne Chevalier went on to study drawing and painting after high school. Her first photographs of seascapes and cliffs date back to 1909. She married a doctor in 1920, with whom she had a daughter the following year. She and her husband welcomed and socialised with many artists and writers, including her friends Colette (1873-1954), Adrienne Monnier (1892-1955) and Mariette Lydis (1887-1990), whom she photographed. In 1929 she devoted herself entirely to her art and in 1930 she opened a portrait studio which was a great success. She became the official photographer of painter Georges Rouault. In 1936 she joined the association of French illustrator and advertising photographers, Le Rectangle, founded by Emmanuel Sougez, René Servant and Pierre Adam, which demanded a return to classicism.
The artist exhibited her photos of nudes, architecture and landscapes during two solo exhibitions, in 1935 and 1937. She explored portraiture and photojournalism (Algeria and Southern France, 1937), worked on sculpture (Rodin, 1935), architecture (Thoronet Abbey, 1936) and objects, particularly musical instruments. She tightly framed images – hands, for example – and used high- and low-angle shots, close-ups, shadow and light effects. In 1932 her portrait of Colette submerged in almost total darkness left only the writer’s eye fully illuminated. Included in many group exhibitions, she also regularly published in various magazines, such as Arts et métiers graphiques, Cinégraph and Musica. Following the bombings of of the Second World War, the majority of her works disappeared in a fire.
In 1946 she became one of the founding members of the group XV, which wanted photography to be recognised as an art in and of itself. She exhibited with this group on several occasions. Together with the writer Marcelle Auclair, in 1949 she made a long report on the Spanish Carmelites to commemorate the foundation of the order by Teresa of Avila. She continued working extensively as a book illustrator, but stopped taking photographs in 1970. In 1980 the artist sorted and destroyed a large number of her prints.