Fine Art

Jean-Gabriel Domergue

French, 1889-1962

La loge à l'Opéra

Oil on canvas
32 x 25 1/2 inches (81 x 65 cm)
Framed: 34 1/2 x 40 3/4 inches (87.6 x 103.5 cm)
Signed lower left: Jean Gabriel Domergue


This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonne in preparation by Noe Willer.

This painting is sold with a certificate from Noe Willer confirming authenticity.

Jean-Gabriel Domergue was a French painter specializing in portraits of Parisian women. He was born in Bordeaux and studied at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts. At the young age of seventeen, in 1906, he exhibited at the Salon Des Artistes Francais. In 1911, he was a second-prize winner of the Prix de Rome and in 1920 won the gold medal award.

At the beginning of his career, he was recognized for landscape painting, but from the 1920s, he concentrated being the painter of the "Parisian lady" and with many of them being nudes, he later claimed to be "the inventor of the pin-up". Indeed, as an artist Domergue had invented a new type of woman: thin, airy, elegant, with a swanlike neck, and wide seductive eyes, which gaze upon the world with longing. He had a talent for highlighting the fickle and dazzling side of a beautiful woman, that one likes to imagine. His elegant mastery of the paintbrush places him in the tradition of artists such as Fragonnard and Watteauwho in the 18th century helped establish the canons of beauty of their epoch. He also designed numerous dresses, hats and accessories for famous couturier such as Paul Poiret and Henry Marque. From 1955 until 1962 Domergue was the curator of the Musée Jacquemart-André, organizing exhibitions of the works of Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Goya and others. He was appointed a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur and received as well the Knight of the Legion of Honour Award and Fellow of the Academy of Fine Arts Award. Jean-Gabriel Domergue died 16 November 1962 on a Paris sidewalk.

The ambiance is both elegant and sophisticated as Domergue masterfully captures an evening out at the Paris Opera. It is clear, the couple is at a high society event dressed in their finest attire. The background boasts vivid paint strokes in yellow, orange and brown, indicative of balconies and an audience behind the couple. The lady is the central figure as she sits gracefully in her pink gown regarding the viewer with a seductive gaze and bright red lips. Her companion is dressed in a tuxedo, leaning up against her with closed eyes.