Sibylle Ruppert revisited


Empusae Raptus (1977).

Another post about this astonishing artist (I’ll keep talking about her if no one else does…). The pictures here are taken from the catalogue for the 2010 Sibylle Ruppert exhibition at the HR Giger Museum, Gruyères, Switzerland. Leslie Barany was good enough to send me a copy of this, and the pictures are posted courtesy of the museum. To purchase a copy of the catalogue contact


Le Chant de Maldoror (1978).

Looking over Sibylle Ruppert’s work this week I’ve been pondering why she wasn’t better known. She was working throughout the 1970s and could easily have been swept up in the vogue for fantastic art when it was being popularised by Omni magazine. Giger, Mati Klarwein, Robert Venosa, De Es Schwertberger and others all benefited from Bob Guccione’s publication, and to a lesser degree from appearances in Heavy Metal magazine. Ruppert’s lack of visibility may have been a result of the usual situation whereby women artists were overlooked or marginalised. But I think it’s far more likely that her work was simply too intense and visceral for the newsstands. Giger could get by with paintings like the semi-abstract NY City series which were attached to science fiction stories without causing a stir. It’s difficult to imagine Ruppert’s work gaining such a popular acceptance, especially in the United States where, lest we forget, Giger’s Penis Landscape did cause a stir in 1985. One of the great benefits of the web is the way so much previously buried culture is surfacing and finding new and enthusiastic audiences. Sibylle Ruppert’s greatest audience has yet to find her but they’re surely out there, you can’t keep work of this quality buried forever.

For a few more Ruppert works see that haven of all things grotesque, Monster Brains.


Le Spectacle de l’Univers (1977).


Un Archange, une Araignée (1977).


Ma Soeur mon Epouse (1975).

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The fantastic art archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Sibylle Ruppert, 1942–2011
The art of Sibylle Ruppert

10 thoughts on “Sibylle Ruppert revisited”

  1. Everyone doing that hyper-real unconscious delving owes a debt to Dalí, Giger included, especially in his early work.

    We discussed the vanishing of the website in the earlier post. A shame it’s gone as there was more of her painting there. The YouTube collection has some of the b&w pieces from the site.

  2. It’s a shame there isn’t even a Wikipedia entry on her. That would make a lot more people aware of her and here work. When you google her your posts about her are the first ones to come up.

  3. Phenomenal stuff. One of those artists whose name seemed vaguely familiar but I’d never actually seen her work. As you say, it’s hard to believe that she’s not better known. I suspect it’s a lot to do with the lazy pigeonholing of visionary female artists as the ‘madwoman in the attic’ as opposed to the macho cliché of the crazy genius.

  4. Thanks for listing the address for the catalogue John. A wonderful artist, I am going to keep her name in the back of my mind so that I am ready whenever it may pop up again.

  5. Hi John,
    I am so glad you are talking about her! Sibylle Ruppert will be remembered in time, sadly not whilst she was alive to see it. I wonder about the arts community world wide. How a ” Patricia Piccinini” gets raved over and above a “Sibylle Ruppert” is an astounding comparison to make in addition. One barely able to draw, director of ‘artisans’ who complete her ‘concepts’ and her ‘ideas’ the other an accomplished draftsman with a searing intellectual imagination. One makes it ‘big’ with much more smoke and mirrors than actual artistic talent the other by contrast obscured and ignore, dies without reference. I accept the subjects she depicts are difficult as you observe, there are still questions to be answered as to why Sibylle remains unknown.
    At least in the english speaking world.

  6. John

    Did you get any response from the email details you gave at the Giger museum to buy the catalogue because I certainly have not! Maybe they don’t reply to requests made in English but since I have no knowlegde of German, perhaps I never will!

  7. Hi Chaz. No, I didn’t contact them, the past couple of weeks have been frantic with deadlines. I’d suggest you maybe try again later. I find that this time of year people are often on holiday so email gets delayed.

  8. If you’d like to order the Sibylle Ruppert catalogue try contacting the Giger Museum by snail mail. I know its antiquated and slow but it proved successful.

    And they didn’t have a problem with English.

    I’ve always thought it a great shame her work was so unrecognised. Unfortunately there wasn’t much published material of her work available (which makes the Giger Museum catalogue such a valuable addition).

    There are a few publications available which are incredibly hard to find but sometimes turn up for those with enough patience and perserverance.

  9. Today, July 29th, Sibylle Ruppert was incinerated at the Père Lachaise
    cemetary in Paris.

    May her tormented soul rest in peace and her work live forever.

    Bijan Aalam

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