Description

    FRENCH SCHOOL (20th Century)
    Marie-Louise Remy, circa 1930s
    Oil on canvas
    36 x 25-1/2 inches (91.4 x 64.8 cm)
    Apocryphal monogram lower right: JB
    Original signature and possibly date upper right (overpainted)

    PROVENANCE:
    Georges Desvallieres Collection, Paris (collection stamp verso);
    Private collection, Normandy, France;
    Private collection, California.

    This arresting modernist portrait of the elegant and independently-minded Marie-Louise Remy (c. 1893-c. 1959) was once part of the famed Georges Desvallieres collection in Paris. Desvallieres (1861-1950) was an academically-trained painter whose works are represented in the Musee d'Orsay and the Louvre. He began his career as a portraitist, but turned Symbolist after meeting Gustave Moreau, who encouraged his interest in mythology and religion. A devout man from the beginning, Desvallieres set his eventual focus upon religious art for another reason as well--the personal tragedy of losing a son to World War I in 1915; he himself had commanded a battalion in the Vosges during the war, and it changed his artistic outlook.

    Desvallieres' works, while very different in technique and palette from this riveting likeness of an urbane yet tender sophisticate with soulful eyes, nonetheless have a similar intensity of mood. Marie-Louise Remy was a woman of independent means from a branch of the Girault family of Normandy (Charles Girault was architect of the Petit and Grand Palais in Paris). She was a free thinker and intensely interested in the arts and culture, which led her far away from her provincial roots. Stories of her liaisons with famous painters and diplomats trickled back to her family, and she was somewhat ostracized as a result. Her nephew, the current owner of the painting, recalls her incredible warmth and support, particularly when he chose to pursue an artistic career in Paris rather than follow a more traditional profession. The owner recalls that his aunt had had her portrait painted by four different artists, this being the only one retained by the family.

    Stylistically the portrait with its artful rouge-pink-burgundy harmonies and angularities has strong affinities with the paintings by the Neue Sachlichkeit artists working in the wake of luminaries such as Otto Dix. The attenuated hands and neck are a particular mannerism of the German, Swiss and Austrian artists who adopted this style, which to a certain degree affected artists elsewhere in Europe as well as in the United States.


    Estimate: $8,000 - $10,000.

    Condition Report*:

    Stretcher crease visible on the upper and middle edge; scattered accretions on figure's dress and neck; otherwise in good condition. Under UV examination there is only very minor evidence of any retouching apart from the apocryphal Balthus monogram in lower right and a patch of overpaint in upper right corner masking the original signature. Framed Dimensions 46.25 X 34.25 Inches

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2012
    15th Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 735

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