by Christophe Dauphin, Jean-Dominique Rey, Victor Brauner, Valère Novarina, Alain Jouffroy, Sarane Alexandrian,

publications and recent exhibitions

Letter  from  Victor  Brauner

In the workshop of Victor Brauner, on  Perrel street there was an atmosphere one would have sought in vain in the meetings of the surrealist group. Here, no fancy manners nor ceremonials, but a combination of free subjectivity, friendly exchange of ideas and sensibilities untainted by proscription. Above all was a flowing sense of humour as the safest protection against the hurdles of daily life. It is in this very workshop that a few of us met Madeleine Novarina for the first time. She used to barge in unannounced, lively and spontaneous. Her natural charisma surprised and attracted people. All of us were almost immediately mesmerised by her attractive face, beautifully carved by the free demeanour that women possess much earlier than men and by her wit that placed her at Victor’s level.

"And she is a painter, you know..."  Victor would whisper to us once she had walked away, as if revealing a great mystery. One must admit she did keep silent about her painting. This attitude of modesty and high standards, which meant she was not showing what she was painting to anyone - except perhaps to Victor - this attitude which can be surprising today was part of our ethics ... We used to dream her paintings whose content Victor nevertheless perfectly described once, but since  Madeleine was in a constant state of dissatisfaction, it would have taken years to see them.

Victor Brauner and his sister Rowena in Madeleine Novarina's room, Thonon-les-bains, 1948. IMEC/Fonds Alexandrian

1st September 1948

                           Dear Madeleine,

within these lavish trips, experienced internally in these always identical times, these times without time, You  often appear in my thoughts associations. I unfortunately can not reconstruct in detail the exploits of your dreams. I should perhaps not dwell until I am confident these messages will be strictly sent to you, because my secret character demands secrecy and in these times, when postmen are so hungry, you never know. There was a painter who always sought more light: one night he ate the light bulb.

I am glad to have met your character who, in my opinion, is "The beautiful germination."

For now I kiss you with all my care and beg you to consider me permanently as a friend.

Infinite Victor

PS: I hope (I-DO-WISH-IT) that your housing problems are solved, that you started working, and also that you're happier.

Analysis by Alain Jouffroy

La Nouvelle Madeleine Novarina

The woman, like the flame is renewing herself, changing, shifting, improvising her fluxes, her fluids in the mental and physical environment of her own heat. Madeleine Novarina,  partner of Sarane Alexandrian (the ultimate theoretician of Surrealism), has been able in her life as in her painting to secretly demonstrate this radiating power contrary to all powers, but more rooted in the expanded space of reality. Around these times (1948-1968), together with Meret Oppenheim, Leonora Carrington, Leonor Fini and others, she was one of the few women artists indifferent to the judgments male art critics could state, for twenty years, upon their unique works.

Alexandrian's and my joint experience of surrealism, obviously led us to support this type of challenges. In the hope of changing surrealism into a poetic force exceeding all ideologies, all dogmas (including the one Surrealism was becoming in the eyes of some of its supporters). Some of us around Breton and beyond had already started to think that the woman was neither the child-fairy nor the witch, and even less the fantasy of our romantic adolescence.

Correspondance  with  Valère  Novarina

October 1979

                                Dear Valère,

Thank you for your wonderful book La Lutte des morts (The Struggle of the Deads) that I am reading. It seems to me full of inventions, truculency, findings showing the personality of a true author.

What is said in a serious manner makes me giggle, what is said more lightly leaves me thoughtful. To hear it is a new pace that emerges from the earth. That descends from the Mounts to the ear.

This is what I already think. Sarane shall read it. Thank you dear Valere, be assured that we are attentive to your path.


November 9th, 1979


Dear Madeleine,

I was moved by your letter, one of the first received and one of the most fair. We could perhaps see each other one day? Last year, Virgile was  attending the square Lamarck School, near yours..

The book is doing ok, but there are some quite tough times: something like a baby blues... ! Shall we call each other?



Valère Novarina between his aunt Madeleine and his mother Manon, with his grandfather Daniel Trolliet and his uncle Sarane Alexandrian, 1961. IMEC/Fonds Alexandrian

Preface  by Jean-Dominique Rey

Madeleine Novarina and Sarane Alexandrian loved, supported, stimulated and understood each other for thirty-seven years. This is the fabric of their history and the book Sarane dedicated in 1992, to the woman he had nicknamed La Fée Précieuse (the precious fairy). This monography uncompromisingly reviews the path and explores the creation of a striking a painter who always refused to make special exhibitions. Madeleine Novarina painted to be and not to be noticed. She was a genuine painter and poet, through  constant evolution in her will to vary her art while affirming her personality though pictorial research that fall into three periods.

Christophe Dauphin, Supérieur Inconnu#30

summer 2011, special issue, Sarane Alexandrian, p. 23

Supérieur Inconnu n°30, été 2011

couverture de Madeleine Novarina

isbn 978-2-912093-21-9

Le Monde imaginaire de Madeleine Novarina,

Catalogue d’exposition à la galerie Alain Veinstein,  préface d’Alain Jouffroy, 1994

Madeleine Novarina par Sarane Alexandrian

Les éditions de l’amateur, 1992, 190 pages,

isbn 2-85916-134-7

« Les Supervisions », galerie 1900 - 2000

preface by Jean-Dominique Rey, 1995

Presentation by Christophe Dauphin

Valère Novarina's letter to his aunt Madeleine, 1979

IMEC/Fonds Alexandrian

L’Aventure en soi, Autobiographie

Le Mercure de France, 1990

isbn 2-7152-1636-x

Petulant, sarcastic, always ready to kid and giggle, yet serious, poetic and an excellent advisor at tricky times, Madeleine delighted me with her rebellious character, her direct frankness and uncompromising rectitude. Familiar with Les Usages du monde (worldly manners) by the Baroness Staffe, never parting with the principles of a fine education, she dared serene audacities that vulgar rebellious women are simply incapable of.

When we disclosed our relationship to others, the first to rejoice were the Brauners. Jacqueline kissed Madeleine with exuberance and Victor mischievously asked us:

- Are you from the garden or the yard?

- What do you mean?

-When two lovers call each other “cabbage” (French equivalent of "honey" ), they are from the garden, and when they call each other “bunny” (French equivalent of  "chicken"  ), they belong to the backyard.

I swore I was not using any vegetable nor furry animal name. I've always compared lovers to living mirrors: the woman reflects the male principle and the man reflects the female one. By offering themselves to one another, through mutual love, secret images of what they are, their double reflection enables each one to discover his/her true personality and his/her proper human destination.

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Dictionary Les Peintres de la Savoie, 1860 - 1980, by Anne Buttin and Sylvain Jacqueline, Néva Editions, p. 221

isbn 978-2-35055-190-6


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Exposition pour Les journées du matrimoine, 15 - 18 septembre 2016,

dans différents départements de la Région Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.


Sarane Alexandrian’s testimony

Latest Publications and Exhibitions

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Deux des vitraux réalisés par Madeleine Novarina pour l’église de Vieugy en couverture du «Livret du chantre-animateur», édité par les diocèses d’Annecy, Belley-Ars, Chambéry, Grenoble-Vienne, Lyon, Saint-Etienne, Valence et Viviers.

Photo : Jérôme Bouchet, responsable du Patrimoine et de l’Art sacré du diocèse d’Annecy

Return to the tophttp://www.madeleine-novarina-eng.com/MN_Eng/Documents.html#

Publication of the book «Madeleine Novarina», by Sarane Alexandrian, éditions de l’Amateur.

isbn 2-85916-134-7

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Publication of four Poems and La Parade nuptiale in «Supérieur Inconnu» # 30, summer 2011.

isbn 978-2-912094-21-9

Publication of three Poems in the anthology «Les Riverains du feu» by Christophe Dauphin, éditions Le Nouvel Athanor.

isbn 978-2-35623-012-6

«Autour du lieu», librairie-galerie Racine, Paris.

isbn 2-243-04375-0

Exhibition at the cipM : Centre international de poésie Marseille : «17 artistes à 17 ans». With Arman, Jean-Pierre Bertrand, Pierrette Bloch, François Bouillon, Daniel Buren, Dado, Paul-Armand Gette, Jean Olivier Hucleux, Jean Le Gac, François Morellet, Gina Pane, Titi et Jean-Luc Parant, André Raffray, Sarkis, Bernar Venet, and Carmélo Zagari. Catalogue : Le Cahier du refuge n°138, 2005.

Exhibition at the Musée Arthur Rimbaud in Charleville-Mézières : «17 artistes à 17 ans», with Arman, Jean-Pierre Bertrand, Pierrette Bloch, François Bouillon, Daniel Buren, Dado, Paul-Armand Gette, Jean Olivier Hucleux, Jean Le Gac, François Morellet, Gina Pane, Titi et Jean-Luc Parant, André Raffray, Sarkis, Bernar Venet, and Carmélo Zagari. Catalogue : «17 artiste à 17 ans», Musée Arthur Rimbaud et Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts de Paris.

isbn : 2 84056 163 8

Exhibition : Madeleine Novarina and Sarane Alexandrian in librairie Nicaise, 145 boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris.

Exhibition «Les Supervisions», galerie 1900-2000, David et Marcel Fleiss, 8 rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris.

Exhibition «Le Monde imaginaire de Madeleine Novarina», surrealist period, galerie Alain Veinstein, Paris.

Exhibition in la Maison des Arts de Thonon-les-bains, «Madeleine Novarina et le surréalisme».


«La Parade nuptiale» in Les Hommes sans épaules n°28.

isbn : 978-2-243-04435-5


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Publication of Une princesse des jours meilleurs (1956) in the book Les leçons de la Haute Magie, by Sarane Alexandrian, éditions Rafael de Surtis, 2012.

isbn 978-2-84672-309-1


Website made by Virgile Novarina (december 2011)

Period IPeriod_I.html
Period IIPeriod_II.html
Period IIIPeriod_III.html