After working as an archivist and film editor in the film production company Universum-Film A.G., and as a journalist for German and Swiss periodicals, Zürn met Hans Bellmer in Berlin, in 1953, and he introduced her to automatic drawing and anagrams. Bellmer encouraged her to collect her first works in a small book, Hexentexte. She followed him to Paris and became his companion.  Her drawings and gouaches were shown in 1953 and 1957 at the gallery Le Soleil dans la tete, and at the gallery Le Point Cardinal, in 1962 and 1964.  yet her frequent attacks of schizophrenia required admission to psychiatric clinics in Berlin, Paris and La Rochelle.  All of her graphic works, delirious in character, were reflections of her hallucinations. Zürn published a book of poems and engravings, Oracles et Spectacles; a story of her childhood, Sombre Printemps; and a diary of her mental illness, L’Homme-Jasmin.  In 1970, she committed suicide by leaping from the balcony of the apartment she shared with Bellmer. 

Unica Zürn

Born 1916 in Berlin-Grunewald; died 1970 in Paris. 

Page from unpublished artist book, Solfège, early 1960s