Mireille Berrard


Mireille Berrard was born Nov. 30, 1930, in Oran. Her irrepressible and very precocious vocation for drawing flourished in an environment favorable to graphic expression.

She added her innate sense of light, movement and space.

At the age of 10, she was initiated to oil painting by Philippe d’Anthony, Grand Prix de Rome. Enrolled at the School of Fine Arts in Oran, she was awarded several first prizes for her work. In parallel, she studied music with a passion and played the piano with delight.

In 1948, she moved to Paris to complete her training. She was a student of the engraver Germaine de Coster at the School of Applied Arts, then studied with the sculptor Zwoboda at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de l’ Enseignement Technique.

Conjointly, she learned the crafts of the book trade and illustration: engraving, lithography, serigraphy…. She was named Professor of Applied Arts in Lyon.

In 1973, George Mathieu, Maître du Signe, and the creator of lyrical abstraction, distinguished her in Berlin for “the extreme elegance and refinement of her art”. This encounter proved capital for her work.

She opened to the Orient, and in so doing found her own style. She worked for collector’s editions (Vialetey, Heures Claires, Arts et Couleurs), illustrating the works of poets and writers. She finally left teaching to consecrate all of her time to her art and pictorial research.

In 1980, she allied her musical culture with her talents for the plastic arts and created works that, in the words of Oliver Messiaen, are “graphic sound/color equivalences”.

In 1981, a second encounter of importance would orient her artistic destiny. While she was exhibiting her music compositions in Gstaad (Switzerland), Yehudi Menuhin recognized her unique specificity and strongly encouraged her to continue along this path.

She participated across Europe, in Miami and in Montreal at international music festivals and at commemorations rendering homage to the great composers, and in particular Bach, Beethoven, Berlioz, Berlioz, Chabrier, Chopin, Debussy, Gershwin, Liszt, Mahler, Messiaen, Mozart, Ravel, Schubert, R. Strauss, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi….”The world is a system of correspondences” she liked to say. In 2000, she attended the celebrations in Leipzig commemorating the 250th anniversary of the death of Johann Sebastian Bach. This stay on the native soil of the Cantor prompted her to develop a new technique: the introduction of collages of musical scores and engravings of the era in her paintings on paper.

Her works are a pictorial transcription totally faithful to the composers, a positive and active statement characterized by finesse and subtlety. Her accidental death occurred in December 2005 in Montréal.