Renée Ringel is a relatively rare phenomenon – a prolific illustrator for whom no amount of research turns up any biographical information. Who was Renée Ringel, who illustrated two dozen French titles, some reprinted several times, between 1940 and 1960? Ringel is not a common name, mostly associated with Germany, where a ringel is a small ring or ringlet, yet Renée appears to have been solidly associated with Paris.

A Ballivet illustration for Claudine à l’école, 1950

Our first assumption is that ‘Renée Ringel’ is a pseudonym, and it has been suggested that the artist behind the name might be Suzanne Ballivet or Mariette Lydis, but as far as we know neither of these women hid behind pseudonyms, and though Ballivet did illustrate Collette’s Claudine, with equally half-naked young women, her style is distinctively her own.

We are left with a mystery, a woman whose dates are probably around 1920–70 and who has completely disappeared from the art history record. Below is a list of all the books that bear her name as the illustrator, and if anybody can shed any further light we would be delighted to hear from you.


Books illustrated by Renée Ringel

Georges Duhamel, Les plaisirs et les jeux mémoires du Cuib et du Tioup,
     Terres Latines, 1940
Boccace, Contes, Terres Latines, 1940
Pierre Louÿs, Aphrodite: moeurs antiques, Editions de la Mappemonde, Bruxelles, 1944
Ovide, L’art d’aimer, Terres Latines, 1945
Anatole France, Le livre de mon ami, Terres Latines, 1946
Barbey d’Aurevilly , Les diaboliques, Soledi: L’amitié par le livre (frontispiece), 1947
François Mauriac, Génitrix, Soledi: L’amitié par le livre (frontispiece), 1947
Georges Duhamel, Le prince jaffar, Soledi: L’amitié par le livre (frontispiece), 1947
Rudyard Kipling, Les bâtisseurs de ponts, Soledi: L’amitié par le livre (frontispiece), 1947
Louis Gérin, Profondeur 1400, Soledi: L’amitié par le livre (frontispiece), 1947
Jacques Chardonne, Les varais, Soledi: L’amitié par le livre (frontispiece), 1947
Le roman de Tristan et Iseut (trans. Pierre Champion), Terres Latines, 1947
Gérard de Nerval, Sylvie, Terres Latines, 1947
Colette, Claudine à l’école, Terres Latines, 1950
Colette, Claudine à Paris, Terres Latines, 1950
Colette, Claudine en ménage, Terres Latines, 1950
Colette, Claudine s’en va, Terres Latines, 1950
Paul-Louis Courier, Les amours pastorales de Daphnis et Chloé, Terres Latines, 1950
Paul Geraldy, Toi et moi, Terres Latines, 1950
Georges Duhamel, Les plaisirs et les jours, Terres Latines, 1950
Louis Pergaud, La guerre des boutons, Terres Latines, 1950
Anatole France, Le crime de Sylvestre Bonnard, Terres Latines, 1950
Adine France, Le rouet qui filait tout seul, Terres Latines, 1952
Jackie Waller, Contes de la forêt enchantée, La Renaissance du Livre, Bruxelles, 1956
Marie-Paule Thierry, Séraphin, chat de curé, La Renaissance du Livre, Bruxelles, 1963

Example illustration