raphaël lonné

Raphaël Lonné (1910-1989) was a French Spiritualist medium who produced lyrical, intricate pen and ink drawings on paper while in a trance state. His practice as a draftsman was initially grounded in seances, and his work came to the attention of Jean Dubuffet in 1963, who declared them worthy of inclusion in the category of art brut.

Born in Acquitane in 1910, Lonné was a sickly, yet creative child. He left school at the age of 12, and went on to work as a concierge, a chauffeur, a conductor, a maintenance worker at a children's hospital, and eventually the town postman. As a young man he composed music and drew, but did not start to work in his signature, mediumistic mode until he became active in local Spiritualist seances.

Lonné drew in a trance, from the top left of each page to the bottom right, allowing his hand to be guided by spirits conjured in the room. His early compositions feature discrete, recognizable figures--both animals and people--and his later works evolved into abstract reveries that look like manuscript pages written in a mysterious script. His lyrical, swirling compositions share commonalities with the art of other Outsiders working mediumistically, with whom Lonné had no contact. Such unexplained correspondences challenge us to consider the medium's claim to be guided by spirits as more than simply a quaint alibi.  - Jenifer P. Borum

Collection de l'Art Brut Lausanne, Centre Pompidou Paris, LAM Collection l'Aracine Villeneuve d'Ascq.

available works