Boy Wonder (1958-1963)
The Hermit (1963-1979)
Fury for Painting (1980-1989)
Visson - Public Person (1991-1998)
Visson Returns to his Roots in a Luxury Hotel (1998-2007)

Boy Wonder (1958-1963)      
Paris, New York, Monte-Carlo, Lausanne


Visson in the artistic press:

Press clippings

Le Figaro, Raymond Cogniat, 12 December 1958

 “(…) we’re in the presence of a rather odd case, that of a gifted artist who, in this début, shows real maturity in the brutality of his drawing, in the simplification of planes, in the tragic intensity of the faces that he paints as if to liberate himself from an obsession.” 

Newsweek, May 18, 1959

“From time to time, out of the agonies of adolescence, come sudden eruptions of poetry or painting which mark the first steps of a promising career.” 

The New York Herald Tribune, Paris Edition, 10 décembre 1958, Yvonne Hagen.

“…Without studying or ever painting [16-year-old Philip Visson] he possesses [an] unusual personal style that harks back [to] Jawlenski [and] a dark morseling of features akin to Roualt […expressing] his passionate message of raw anguish.  The obsessed expressions of his faces and figures show the beginnings of an original eye.  […He] will evolve and mature in a strong vein.”

New York Mirror, Sidney Fields, 12 May 1959

“The critics said all his work showed a feeling of solitude, as well as a remarkable maturity, a stark strength, and a rare sense of color.”


Visson at fifteen falls in love with a diplomat’s daughter eight years his senior.  His adolescent crisis is further exacerbated by anorexia, and he looses half of his 120 kilos in 6 months.  He’s given a box of paints by the wife of Churchill’s editor in Paris and starts painting in the bathroom of a suite in the Plaza Athenée, where paintings quickly multiply.  He’s offered a show by Craven.  Immediately a success and in the media, he shows in New York, Monte Carlo and Geneva.

From l ’Illustré, No. 30, 24 juillet 1996, pages 34 – 37, Françoise Boulianne, photos Christian Rochat

“At 14, Philippe Visson is obese.  At 15, he looses half of his weight when he falls in love.  At 16, he shows his first works in Paris, then New York: ‘I was known as a painter long before I felt like one.  At 17, I was already an old successful artist.  Too many people were paying attention to me.’  Thus, Visson hides his timidity under the allure of a dandy.  And, as if that wasn’t enough, he guzzles gallons of whiskey and staggers from one chic place to another, mimicking his friend and neighbor, the actor, Montgomery Clift.

His father is a famous journalist at Reader’s Digest, perpetually on assignment between Washington and Europe.  His mother holds down in Paris The Gazette des Beaux-Arts.  Both of them have acquired from their native Russia a taste for the excessive.  At the Vissons, one devours, one spends beyond one’s means, one falls to land on one’s feet, and one talks of group suicide as if one were talking about going to the movies.  One lives as a nomad.”

Le concierge du Beau-Rivage

Gallery of images:

Boy Wonder

Principal exhibitions:

Paris, Galerie Craven, France
New York, Milch Galleried, USA
Monte-Carlo, Galerie Rauch, France
Geneva, Galerie Moos, Switzerland