Fine Art

Jean-Gabriel Domergue

French, 1889-1962

La Loge de l’Opéra

Oil on canvas
36 1/4 x 28 3/4 inches (92 x 73 cm)
Signed lower right: Jean Gabriel Domergue


Richard Green, London

The authenticity of this painting has been confirmed by Mr. Noe Willer and is included in the archives of Art Conseil.

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 on being the painter of the "Parisian lady". Many of his figures were nudes, and 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 swan-like 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 couturiers 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, received the Knight of the Legion of Honour Award, and a Fellow of the Academy of Fine Arts Award.

This work is a lovely example of Domergue’s “Parisian ladies”, featuring a glamorous society woman and her companion out for a night at the opera. The lady sits gracefully in her white gown, which is paired with long sleeved black gloves and diamond earrings. Her gorgeous rust-red hair complements the color of her chair, and her black necklace, feather hairpiece and red lips exude elegance and refinement. Sitting closely behind is her male companion, dressed in a tuxedo. Behind the couple are splotches of paint in tones of yellow, green and brown, a painterly portrayal of the opera house audience.