Purchased from the artist, 1950s
Private collection, Germany
This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonne in preparation by Noe Willer.
This painting is sold with a certificate of authenticity from Noe Willer.
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. In 1906, at the young age of seventeen, 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. His elegant mastery of the paintbrush places him in the tradition of artists such as Fragonnard and Watteau who 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, organising 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.
This work is a charming example of Domergue’s “Parisian ladies”, featuring a glamorous woman out for a night at the opera. Her pale pink gown is speckled in sparkles and complements her fine earrings, choker necklace and tiara. Paired with her black gloves and red lips, she exudes elegance and appeal. Her companion is smartly dressed in a tuxedo with white bow tie, and appears engrossed in the production. The couple is surrounded by red, further adding contrast and elegance to the scene. Behind the couple, painterly swirls indicate figures seated below.