Fine Art

Jean-Gabriel Domergue

French, 1889-1962

Chatam’s Bar

Oil on panel
25 1/2 x 21 inches (65 x 54 cm)
Framed: 37 1/2 x 33 inches (95 x 84 cm)
Signed lower left: Jean-Gabriel Domergue


Private collection, France

Titled on verso: Chatam’s Bar

 The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by 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. 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 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. Jean-Gabriel Domergue died 16 November 1962 on a Paris sidewalk.

Domergue's classical training combined with an aura of fantasy, make his portraits unlike any others and our example is no exception. The woman at the center of the painting is dressed as a typical Parisian lady, elegant and fashionable. She sits gracefully at a countertop and regards the viewer with a seductive gaze, her chin propped on her white gloved hand. Her dress is also white, and accented with red feathers that have been painted with quick, light strokes. Most striking of all is her hat, a gorgeous creation of red, white and black feathers. Her companion is dressed in a tuxedo and top hat and holds a cigar. In the background vivid paint strokes in yellow and orange show lively touches of pink and black, indicative of a crowded room behind the couple