Fabienne Verdier

Biography of Fabienne Verdier

Through developing her own ingenious painting techniques, the French artist Fabienne Verdier creates distinctive large-scale abstract paintings. She paints onto huge canvases laid out on the floor with gigantic paintbrushes made from horse tails. Verdier has designed a contraption where she can suspend her paintbrush from the ceiling, and she has been known to walk across her canvases pouring paint as she moves.


These techniques allow Fabienne Verdier to make spontaneous marks that are the product of gravity and her body’s movements, rather than of the weight of a paintbrush. By varying the speed of her movements and the pressure and density of the paint, Verdier is able to create characteristic motives and marks. The end results are usually composed of large dashes, circular forms, or winding lines and are reminiscent of Action Painting.


Fabienne Verdier is influenced by western Modernism but also by traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy. After graduating from the École des Beaux-Arts de Toulouse in France in 1985, Verdier, then aged only 22, left for China to study at the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in Chongqing. There Verdier worked alongside some of the great Chinese painters who had survived Mao’s “Cultural Revolution”. Verdier spent a decade in China and became the first foreign woman to acquire a post-graduate diploma in fine arts by the institution. In 2003 Verdier published her memoirs of her time there, Passagère du Silence, which won several prizes, was translated into six languages, and sold over 230,000 copies.


Fabienne Verdier’s work has been exhibited extensively across the world, including at the Centre Pompidou and Galerie Lelong in Paris, the Kunsthaus Zürich and the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich. Recently Verdier has been collaborating with the world-famous French architect Jean Nouvel for the National Art Museum of China project in Beijing. Fabienne Verdier was born in Paris in 1962, today she mainly divides her time between France and Canada.  

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