Joseph Sima was born in 1891 into a family of Czech artists. He studied at the Prague
Academyin the studio of the symbolist painter Jan Preisler who introduced him to the work of Cézanne. In Prague, he joined the group of Czech avant-garde «Devětsil» founded in 1920. In 1922 he moved to Paris as a correspondent of the group. He met the figures of the French avant-garde as the Dadaists Tristan Tzara and Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes or Andre Breton and Max ErnstSurrealism figures. Sima helps to forge close links between the surrealists of Paris and Czechoslovakia. During a visit to Louvre museum, he is highly impressed by the performances of unusual landscapes of Hercules Seghers, Dutch engraver (1589-1638). Therefore he considers Sima Seghers and «his land eaten by the light» as one of his masters. Speakingof his paintings, JosephSima says they all date from the time when he was in Paris. His influences are very diverse. He is very interested in the structural analysis of language, poetry and art that develops the Russian Roman linguist Jakobson. During his early years in Paris, hepainted in a spontaneous style that can be described as expressionist «fauve». And he exposes in 1925 at Surindépendants Fair in surreal section, but nevertheless adheres to this movement. In 1927, he founded «Le Grand jeu» and became the artistic director of the eponymous magazine. The group members include surrealist René Daumal and Roger Vailland refuse the tutelage of André Breton. They prefer the imagination and the sudden enlightenment through a «philosophy participation». For Sima, this translates to the «vision of paint» that is linked to a spiritual conception of the universe involving the unity of matter such as rocks, trees, water, clouds. Thus, he painted abstract landscapes in which the earth, the sky and the sea is always mixed in vapors and mists to the point that they become confused. The underlying idea is mystical rather than metaphysics. From the 30s, Sima eliminates any identifiable form, each bodily presence while working a symbolic value to
light.After a long interruption due to the war, Sima starts working again in 1950. He made the lightand space the center of his research, these works of the 50’ and 604 were exhibited by Paul Facchetti who called him «architecte de la lumière» (architect of lights) and galerie Le Point Cardinal. Many exhibitions are devoted to him in France and abroad, including the
Museum of Modern Art of Paris in 1992. This workby Sima is one of the most figurative but it is also the earliest. Drawn in 1950, this pastelmakes appear a large rock on which we can see trees. But colors and forms create a dreamlike work like the ones he will create in the future.