Hélène de Beauvoir

Simone und Hammer Expo 1986
La Femme rompue 1967

La Femme rompue

Paris,Gallimard, 1967

'Why have you chosen to illustrate the mediocre book your sister has written?' Hélène de Beauvoir was asked this question in a television interview prompted by an exhibition of her paintings. The interviewer referred to the deluxe edition of La femme rompue by her famous sister Simone de Beauvoir, which had been published in 1967, and which was illustrated by sixteen original engravings. That autumn, the three novellas from the collection - including the illustrations - were also published in women's magazine Elle. The book became a bestseller, but it was savaged by the critics. In Tout compte fait (1972), one of Simone de Beauvoir's autobiographical works, she wrote that the collaboration was something she had long wished for, and which had finally come true with La femme rompue. The short stories in this collection were better suited for illustrations than her other, longer texts. Hélène defended her sister's collection passionately: according to her, anyone unable to appreciate the work simply lacked the intelligence to understand it.