Fine Art

Jean-Gabriel Domergue

French, 1889-1962

À l'opéra

Oil on board
16 x 13 inches (40.6 x 32.7 cm)
Framed: 23 ½ x 20 inches (59.7 x 51.8 cm)
Signed lower left: Jean-Gabriel Domergue


Private collection, France

The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Noe Willer.

This painting is sold with a photo certificate from Madame Domergue, 1969

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, 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.

In the tradition of Domergue's elegant society women, this work features a glamorous couple out for a night at the opera. The female figure is dressed in an exquisite white gown with a sweetheart neckline edged in turquoise and speckled with vibrant dots in the same color throughout. She gazes seductively toward the viewer, her sparkling diamond earrings, choker necklace and white gloves exuding elegance and appeal. The gentleman is smartly dressed in a tuxedo and is earnestly watching the production through opera glasses. A background of bright fuchsia surrounds the couple, further adding contrast and elegance to the scene.