Jean Hélion was a French painter whose abstract work of the 1930s established him as a leading modernist. His midcareer rejection of abstraction was followed by nearly five decades as a figurative painter. He was also the author of several books and an extensive body of critical writing.
Helion who had moved to the United Sates in the 1930's, came back to France to fight in World War II. He was taken prisoner in 1940 but escaped from a prison ship in Poland in 1942, to come back to the United States. He later marries Peggy Guggenheim's daughter Pegeen Vail Guggenheim.
In the 1960s his manner reverted to something closer to his style of the 1940s, but with a new breadth.