Au bar des Ambassadeurs à Deauville
c. 1948Oil on canvas
21 x 15 inches (53.3 x 38.cm)
Framed: 31 1/2 x 27 1/4 inches (80 x 69 cm)
Signed lower left: Jean-Gabriel Domergue
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 on 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, 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.
Our painting presents a lively and colorful Parisian scene. The woman at the center of the painting is dressed à la mode with an elegant feather boa, black hat and white gloves. Her long, slender figure is portrayed sinuously, dressed in white with brightly colored flowers painted in quick, light strokes of primary color. To her left is a man wearing a gray top hat and to her right, a woman attired in red and black. All three figures are seated at tables and seem to be spectators at an elegant event.