Cultural events

Boris Vian


from October 18, 2011 to January 15, 2012 François-Mitterrand / Galerie François Ier

Exhibitions will be opened from 10.00am to 4.00pm on Saturday 24 December and Saturday 31 December 2011.

Boris Vian enjoyed little recognition in his lifetime (1920-1959). He was discovered posthumously when Jean-Jacques Pauvert republished « L’Écume des jours » in 1963. This forever young fascinating man, who imagined a new language and created a rich and diverse imaginary world, was made a legend. Jazz, theater plays, prose, poetry, translations, songs, paintings... The exhibition presents the various facets of Boris Vian’s work to highlight its unity and richness.

Holder of the Ecole centrale (College of engineering) diploma, Boris Vian worked only a few years as an engineer and preferred to devote himself to writing. He used the pen name of Vernon Sullivan, pretending to be the translator, to publish « J’irai cracher sur vos tombes », written in the style of American violent thrillers. Though the novel was considered as a shocking one and censored, three other works by Vernon Sullivan were published until 1950, which tainted the writer’s reputation. After the publication of « L’Écume des jours », the novels signed with his own name went unnoticed. In 1953, after the failure of « L’Arrache-cœur », he turned away from fiction writing to devote himself to songwriting and worked as a songwriter, singer and artistic director at Philips records company. He also created theatrical works and cabaret musicals.

The exhibition invites visitors to follow in Boris Vian’s footsteps from Saint-Germain-des-Prés to the Collège de Pataphysique, from jazz clubs to cafés where committed intellectuals such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir spent a lot of time.

Guided tours

Tours for individuals and groups

Information and registration at 00 33 (1) 53 79 49 49 or

Educational activities

  • Guided tours for teachers, guided tours for elementary school pupils.
  • Educational files to be downloaded at

Friday, July 1, 2011