Victor Simon (1903-76)
Simon was the son of a miner from Divion, France. He was a sensitive child and experienced visions, often Egyptian in nature, and could sometimes hear voices. The onset of war, and the close proximity to the frontline where the young Simon observe the harshness of the working class and the ever present feeling of death only increased his sensitivity. At the age of 15 he worked in the mine for a short while, but is spotted by a kind engineer to realised he was more suited to working in the offices. Simon embraced the opportunity to increase his knowledge and in his spare time studied philosophy and theology. It was around this time, at 16 years old, that he was introduced to Spiritualism. Shortly after he attended a seance which left an indelible mark on his mind. In the following years Simon marries and had several jobs including from 1930-36 running a café-tabac in Fouquières-lez-Lens.
It was while there that he had his first spiritual experience. In July 1933 faces appeared before him and he received the message that would change his life. The message told him to begin to paint a canvas, four by two metres, before the end of the month. Simon had never painted before, but obeyed the message and began his artistic journey on July 31st 1933.
He later meets his mentor, Augustin Lesage, and the two become good friends and travelling companions in their quest for the spiritual in art. Lesage designates Simon as his successor.
More information is available on Victor Simon in the exhibition catalogue Lesage Simon Crépin: Painters Spirits and Healers 2019 available (French language) from LAM