Oil on isorel panel, signed lower left
Dimensions : H. 73 x W.60 cm / With frame : H. 96 x W. 83 cm
Jean-Gabriel Domergue was born on March 4, 1889 in Bordeaux. His father, a journalist and art critic, took him to artists' studios from an early age. Very precocious, he drew remarkably well at the age of 15. He naturally entered the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and frequented the studios of the best academic painters, such as Lefèvre, Robert-Fleury, Humbert and Flameng.
In 1906, at only seventeen years old, he participated in the Salon des Artistes Français where he received his first mention. In 1913, the artist was awarded the Second Grand Prix de Rome. 1920 was a decisive year for Domergue as he was awarded the Gold Medal at the Salon des Artistes Français.
He was very quickly solicited by the advertising industry to create posters and catalog covers. He also created theater sets and illustrated several books. Domergue is the painter of the female portrait par excellence, from the 1920s to the 1950s. The artist succeeded brilliantly in putting his traditional training at the service of his own style, his originality and his joie de vivre. He is undeniably an essential milestone in the evolution of female portraiture in France. Domergue was also a worldly painter, his parents were part of the great Bordeaux bourgeoisie. He frequented the French and British aristocracy and owned a villa in Cannes. Thanks to his origins and success, he spent his whole life rubbing shoulders with the greatest personalities, and painted portraits of the most beautiful women. Very influential, he played a major role in the evolution of fashion of his time. He drew for the most famous couturiers, including Paul Poiret and Henry Marque, many models of dresses, hats and accessories.
Domergue produced a very large quantity of paintings. He loved women and money, and he accepted innumerable orders, the quality of which he sometimes neglected; one finds many small formats, often repetitive and with little care for detail. Finally, Domergue's type of painting gives the subject matter a crucial importance; even if all tastes are in nature, the elegance and beauty of the women can make the prices vary significantly.
Our painting is one of Domergue's important and sought-after works. The size is large, and the subject matter superb. While many of the artist's portraits are done with an empty background, this one benefits from a red background, representing a large theater room. The posture of the woman gives her a great distinction, she is a very beautiful woman with an intelligent look. The hairstyle and jewelry are neat. Finally, it should be noted that gloves are of fundamental importance in Domergue. Here, they extend the grace of the arms and match the dress, creating a powerful contrast with the background.
Cannes, Villa Domergue
Paris, Musée d’Art Moderne de la ville
Bordeaux, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Nantes, Musée des Beaux-Arts
9 500 €