Yvonne Knops , better known by his artist name Yvonne George , is a singer, performer and actress feminist Belgian, born in 1896 in Liege ( Belgium ) and died in 1930 in Genoa ( Italy ).


She began an artistic career in theater which led to her becoming friends with Jean Cocteau . His repertoire consists of old songs with realistic themes.

Paul Franck , director of the Olympia in Paris , discovers in a cabaret of Brussels where Yvonne George comes in 1922 . She sings in particular his famous We will go to Valparaiso and Good bye Farewell. A part of the public, impressionable and well thought out, does not appreciate this benefit. Yvonne George nevertheless knows a rapid and controversial success in spite of the critics who reproach him for his intellectualism and his emancipation.

From then on, Yvonne George moved to the ground floor of an opulent building in Neuilly where the singer received many artists and literary personalities.

In 1924 , known in the intellectual circles of Paris as a charming singer, Yvonne George is the object of a passionate but impossible love with the poet and French writer Robert Desnos . He wrote many poems to him, including the famous I dreamed of you so much . With her, he learns the vice of opium . It is also at this time that Desnos writes La Liberté ou l’Amour , a work that will be condemned for obscenity by the court of the Seine.

His theatrical style is a premise of the French realistic song. Having recorded very little, he is known for a musical repertoire of some 200 songs of which only 21 recordings. Of these, 16 songs have been preserved. As a result, his posthumous reputation with the general public is low. However, the themes of his songs and his way of interpreting with a broken and troubled voice will influence other female singers like the famous Barbara .

Yvonne George is part of the emancipation movement of women between the wars . Overwhelmed by her excesses, she finally has tuberculosis . After ineffective curative treatments, she died in a hotel room near the port of Genoa, April 22, 1930 at the age of 33 years.

Romantic posterity

Yvonne George is the model of “Barbara”, the main female figure in the novel The Wine is taken from Robert Desnos .

Partial Discography

  • I did not know how to do it (Cartoux – Costil – Yvain) – 1925
  • That’s why we love each other (Telly – Borel-Clerc) – 1925
  • The little hunchback (unknown) – 1925
  • I want you ( Erik Satie ) – 1925
  • I did not know how to do it (second version) – 1926
  • You Know You Belong to Somebody Else – 1926
  • Pars (Lenoir) – 1926
  • Sailor’s Song (Auric) – 1926
  • A whole story (Jeanson) – 1926
  • The death of the hunchback – 1926
  • Farewell dear comrades – 1926
  • O Marseille (Wiener) – 1927
  • Song of the Road (Wiener) – 1927
  • That’s why we love each other (second version) – 1928
  • Already (Lenoir – Aïvaz) – 1928
  • If I had not known you (Boyer – Boyer – Verdun) – 1928
  • I did not know how to do it (third version) – 1928
  • The hunchback (second version) – 1928
  • The Bells of Nantes – 1928
  • The other (Lenoir) – 1928
  • Valparaiso – 1932