Valentine Hugo (16th March 1887 – 1968)
Born Valentine Gross in Boulogne-sur-Mer, she studied painting in Paris, and in 1919 married the great-grandson of Victor Hugo.
She met the Surrealists around 1928 and actively participated in the Movement, taking part in many of the group experiments: numerous examples survive of the infamous Cadavre Exquis – or “Exquisite Corpse” – created with Breton, Dali & Gala, Eluard & Nusch, Tristan Tzara, et al., as a kind of Surrealist ‘Third Mind’ Party Game.
Successful as a Graphic Artist, Hugo illustrated the Works of Paul Eluard, as well as that Black Bible of Surrealism, ‘Les Chants de Maldoror’ by le Comte de Lautréamont (pen-name of Isidore Ducasse), and their beloved de Sade and Rimbaud.
She also created designs for ballet by her husband. French artist Jean Hugo (1894–1984), and for Jean Cocteau.
She died in Paris in 1968.
The Surrealist Constellation (depicting Paul Éluard, André Breton, Tristan Tzara, Benjamin Péret, René Crevel and René Char)
Arthur Rimbaud – ‘Les Poètes de sept ans’ (illustration 1939)
Cadavre Exquis, with André Breton, Paul & Nusch Éluard (1934)
Illustration for de Sade (1947)
Paul Eluard – ‘Les Animaux et leurs hommes’ (illustration 1937)
The Artist (portrait by Man Ray)