Francine Simonin Born October 2, 1936 Lausanne, Switzerland Died October 9, 2020 (aged 84) Montreal, Quebec, Canada Swiss-Canadian nationality
Simonin was exposed to painting, literature and music a lot during her childhood, where she often moved between Lausanne and Champex. She entered the Cantonal Art School of Lausanne in 1953. She attended Casimir Reymond’s studio from 1958 to 1960. During her artistic career, she traveled regularly across Europe and befriended Marguerite Duras, and the two women were very close until the 1980s. She was also good friends with Janette Laverrière.
Between 1958 and 1966, Simonin mainly practiced engraving, mainly on wood and copper. In Pully, she frequents the studio of Pierre Cailler, founder of the Engraving Guild. She obtained a federal painting grant in 1964. The following year, she opened her first exhibition at the Maurice Bridel Gallery in Lausanne. In 1970, she began exhibiting her works at Galerie Numaga by Gilbert Huguenin in Auvernier and Chez Nane Cailler in Pully.
Simonin moved to Montreal in 1971 following a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. In Montreal, she meets Jean-Paul Riopelle, René Derouin, Serge Lemoyne and Pierre Ayot. From 1971 to 1994, she taught at the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières. She won several public commissions and her works are exhibited at the Palais de Justice in Longueuil, at the Desjardins and Pollack Pavilion of Laval University in Sainte-Foy – Sillery – Cap – Rouge and at the Stravinsky Auditorium in Montreux. In 1989, she produced scenic panels for the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville and for the stage of the play Palindrome by Philippe Saire in 1995, staged in Lausanne.