Maurice Rapin and Mirabelle Dors - Comrades in love
February 15, 2000... Maurice writes, three months after the loss of his wife Mirabelle:
" Despite 46 years together, Mirabelle Dors is as mysterious to me as the day we met, and her art still holds for me the enigmatic charms that captivated me when I discovered this uniquely original creation. Understandably, I did everything I could to provide Mirabelle Dors with the material security and open camaraderie she needed for her work. For Mirabelle Dors placed great value on collective action, and it was the Salon Figuration critique, at its peak, that undoubtedly gave her the feeling of exceptional success."
Mysterious Mirabelle: confusion reigned over her year of birth - usually given as 1913 - and even her identity in the civil register!What's more, her year of death is also prone to error: sales catalogs often indicate 1991, whereas she died in 1999.
What is certain is that she arrived in France from Moldavia in 1952 with the Romanian poet Ghérasim Luca, her companion at the time. Welcomed in Paris by André Breton, she initially lived in Montmartre. Her French first name is said to be a nickname derived from her mirabelle-colored skin, while her artist's name is said to have been coined by Breton, who liked to hypnotize her with the injunction: "dors Mirabelle, dors!
She met Maurice Rapin in the early '50s and married him in 1954, despite the hostility of her in-laws, who found their age difference shocking. The couple settled in Vélizy-Villacoublay, in a house painted all in green. She dedicated her art"To Maurice, for Maurice, with Maurice", a phrase she bears for posterity on the back of the work Une Terre d'attente (1994) presented in our sale. In his company, she tirelessly created strange masks, totems, dolls, chimeras and "image populations". It's a surreal, repetitive and "popular" mechanic, inscribed in the world. Mirabelle and Maurice didn't live in the isolation of protest painters. Collective action was their dada... The Jeune Peinture and Figuration critique groups they led were resolutely outside the official circuits.
Paradoxical Mirabelle, committed and rebellious, a staunch feminist yet indefectibly attached to a man with a somewhat dominant personality, who " provided her with material security ". She died before Maurice, in November 1999. Could it be that André Breton commanded her from beyond the grave: " Dors, Mirabelle, dors... pour l'éternité " (" Sleep, Mirabelle, sleep... for eternity ")? According to Etienne Ruhaud's research, she does not share her husband's vault in division 6 of the small Bercy cemetery, where he is buried... In the game of exquisite cadavers, Mirabelle - born who knows where, who knows when - even has her own grave!