Richard Green, London
Private collection, USA
Cyril Klein-Montézin has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
A highly acclaimed artist of the French school, Pierre Eugène Montezin painted landscapes, figures, and still lifes. Montezin worked with oils, pastels, and gouache, all of which are well suited to his rather impressionistic style of extremely painterly brushwork. His father, a lace draftsman, first sparked his son’s interest in the arts by entering him in a decorative atelier, where he was intended to quickly learn the art of executing decorative murals. Then, eventually influenced by the theories and techniques of the first Impressionists, he decided to make his debut as a true artist. Around the year 1903, Montezin befriended Quost, who made him focus seriously on his drawing skills, at the same time bestowing on him a real taste for the fine art of painting. It was in this same year that he was finally allowed to exhibit his work at the Salon des Artistes Francais after a ten-year pursuit. Seeking a wider audience, he took part in an exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool in 1906.
In the year 1914, Montezin enlisted in the war, and served for its duration. Upon his release, he had the uncontrollable urge to take up painting again, and resumed exhibiting his pieces at the Salon des Artistes Francais. He lived for a year in Dreux, and then in Moret, where he would end up passing the majority of his future vacations. These landscapes inspired him and provided him with fresh ideas of what to depict in his pieces. After the war, he found that his true style comprised of a skillful pastiche of Impressionism, and gained much success.
During the course of his lifetime, Montezin received almost constant recognition for his work as a painter. He was awarded with the third place medal in 1907, the second place medal in 1910, and the Rosa Bonheur Prize in 1920. In 1923, he was made a Knight in the Legion of Honor. Montezin had a solo exhibition in Paris in 1932 which was an enormous success and the years to follow he had a great deal of exhibitions in Paris. In 1940, he was elected a member of the Beaux Arts Academy, taking the seat of the famed Vuillard. In addition, he was made a member of the jury of the Salon des Artistes Francais after having received the Medal of Honor in 1932 from that revered institution. Montézin painted to the end of his long life, dying suddenly in 1946 while he was painting during a trip to Brittany.
Montezin presents here a delightful still life of three geraniums on a windowsill with light flooding through it. The window sash and the sheer curtains frame the flowers and draw the viewer’s attention to the central stem. There are subtle elements to this composition, including details like the glass and the spoon set on the table. The abstract background is painted in muted blue and green tones, which provide contrast to the bright flowers. His masterful use of light is rendered by reflections of the flower pots on the table in front of them and the fine drapery dappled by light at the sides and above.