Born in Paris , but daughter of a sailor (and sister of the solo yachtsman of the same name), she spent most of her childhood in Le Croisic, and her name places her origins in the seafaring community. The sea is always present, transparent, somewhere behind even her least figurative paintings.
Those few women painters who can be counted in each generation may find it hard to make their painting felt, but rare indeed are painters [of either sex] who have been introduced by Andre Breton, as was the case for Yahne le Toumelin. Nor are there many who have mastered as she has a technique apparently mid-way between informal and “dripping” to the point of making it recreate every abysmal depth or cosmic infinitude.
She began by attending the Academie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris in 1944. From 1950 to 1952, she carried out some graphic work for the Institut Français in Mexico. After her first exhibition in Paris in 1957, the one which was introduced by Andre Breton, she figured, from 1961 to 1967, at the Salon des Surindependents; from 1962 to 1964 at the Salon de Mai; from 1957 to 1959 at the Salon Comparaisons; in 1960 in the exhibition “Essai pour une peinture de demain” (“Trials for the painting of tomorrow”) introduced by Rene Drouin; in 1966 and 1969 at the Salon d’ Art Sacre; in the 1966 “Rencontres d’Octobre” at the Musee de Nantes, in 1967 at the Salon des Artistes Français; etc. Other one-man shows: Paris, 1963, 1970. In 1969 she made the scenery and costumes for the ballet Les Vainqueurs by the Maurice Bejart Company.
We may add that since 1968 Yahne le Toumelin has joined a Tibetan monastery, thus completing the spiritual portrait of a painter of whom Andre Breton wrote, as early as 1957: “The success of a work depends on the interior ‘state’ (assuming the balance to be at the highest degree of tension towards wisdom) of its creator”. – rireduciel.com
On the picture: Yahne le Toumelin and one of her two siblings: Matthieu Ricard, ‘happiest man in the world‘
Below poems found on ‘rireduciel.com’ written by her children about their mother’s work:
Bleu le ciel
Un oiseau vole
L’oiseau doit se poser
La figuration a une histoire
Mon regard cherche
Ce que mon âme cherche
Noir par l’éclat traversés
Les peintures de Yahne le Toumelin,
la mère envers qui j’ai tant de reconnaissance,
ont peuplé mon enfance.
Leurs transparences lumineuses m’ont si souvent
emmené dans des voyages sans fin
au-delà des frontières de la réalité solide.