Oil on canvas
21 1/2 x 18 1/4 inches (54.6 cm x 46.4 cm)
Framed: 28 1/2 x 25 inches (72.4 x 63.5 cm)
Signed with monogram: GdE
Sotheby’s London, 1993
Private Collection, USA
This painting is sold with a certificate of authenticity from Jean Dominique Jacquemond.
Born in Melun in 1870, Georges D’Espagnat’s family moved to Paris when he was a young man. He was largely self-taught as an artist, eschewing the traditional art schools and rejecting the strict formalities of the Paris academies, and instead studying the works of the great masters found at the Louvre. He became involved with prominent Impressionist painters of the time and began his public career at the Salon des Refusées in 1891, and later exhibited at the Salon of the Société Nationale and the Salon des Independents, both venues known for their openness to modern trends.
In 1895, D’Espagnat had his first solo exhibition at the Le Barc de Boutteville Gallery in Paris. In 1903 D’Espagnat, along with the architect Frantz Jourdain and critic Ivanhoe Rambosson, founded the Salon d’Automne with the purpose of creating an alternative exhibition venue for young artists and for retrospectives of the modern artists who had been rejected at the end of the earlier century. In 1907 his work was included in the Marcel Bernheim Gallery Group Exhibition with Bonnard, Cezanne, Matisse, Pissarro, Rouault, Seurat, and Toulouse-Lautrec. He was elected vice president of the Salon d’Automne in Paris in 1935, D’Espagnat was an active member at the Salon while teaching at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts until the 1940s. His work is in the collection of numerous museums and public collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Musée du Theatre National de l’Opera in Paris, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston, the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid.
Our painting juxtaposes rich, soaked color with a masterful understanding of composition and draftsmanship. Vivid reds and cool blues frame the backdrop of a still life table arrangement. Covered by a yellow cloth, the table is set with a domestic grouping that includes a vase of red and white flowers, a plate of decadent fruit, and a lidded blue and white sugar jar. This arresting work shows the influences of D’Espagnat’s contemporaries Bonnard, Cezanne, and Matisse.