Urgent Museum Notice

Alice Bailly

A black-and-white photograph of a light-skinned, adult woman looking head-on at the viewer. She has short, dark hair that reaches just past her ears, and wears round, thick glasses.

Photo courtesy the Alice Bailly Foundation, St. Blaise, Switzerland

1872–1938

While she was exhibiting her early wood engravings in Paris, Fauvism came to the fore. Bailly was inspired by the style’s bold use of intense colors, dark outlines, and emphatically unrealistic anatomy and space. In 1908, her new paintings hung at the Salon d’Automne alongside the art of the principal Fauve painters.

Continuing her stylistic experimentation, Bailly developed her own variation of Cubism. In 1912, her work was chosen to represent Switzerland in a traveling exhibition seen in Russia, England, and Spain. When World War I broke out, Bailly returned to Switzerland, where she invented “wool paintings,” mixed-media works in which short strands of colored yarn imitated brush strokes.

Bailly was briefly active in the Dada phenomenon. She moved to Lausanne in 1923 and stayed there for the rest of her life, continuing to exhibit regularly and promote the cause of modern art. In 1936, Bailly accepted a commission to paint eight large murals for the foyer of the Theatre of Lausanne. This monumental task led to exhaustion, which presumably made Bailly more susceptible to the tuberculosis that claimed her life two years later.

Artist Details

  • Name

    Alice Bailly
  • Birth

    Geneva, Switzerland, 1872
  • Death

    Lausanne, Switzerland, 1938
  • Phonetic Spelling

    AL-his (b-eye)-yee

Works by Alice Bailly

Self-Portrait

Aside from the figure’s three-quarter-turn pose, this painting presents an avant-garde version of the traditional artist’s self-portrait. Through her training and travels, Alice Bailly became attuned to many vital European art movements of the early 20th century. Her apartment in Geneva was a popular meeting place for artists, poets, and musicians, but she did not identify with any particular movement....

Dynamic painting features a backdrop of red, orange, and blue hues. The artist's face, hands, and body are composed of conjoined geometric and organic shapes in a neutral color palette. Her left eye and hands are explicitly described, as is artist's palette on her right.