Oil on isorel panel, signed lower left
Dimensions: H. 73 x L.60 cm
Jean-Gabriel Domergue was born on 4 March 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: this marked the beginning of an immense success for him.
He was very quickly solicited by the advertising industry to create posters and catalogue covers. He also created theatre sets and illustrated several books. Domergue was 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 members of the Bordeaux bourgeoisie. He frequented the French and British aristocracy and owned a villa in Cannes. Thanks to his origins and success, he spent his entire 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 in his time. He designed numerous dresses, hats and accessories for the most famous couturiers, including Paul Poiret and Henry Marque.
Domergue produced a very large number of paintings. He loved women and money, and he accepted countless commissions, the quality of which he sometimes neglected; we find many small formats, often repetitive and with little care for detail. Finally, Domergue's type of painting makes the subject matter of crucial importance; although all tastes are in nature, the elegance and beauty of the women can make prices vary significantly.
This Domergue portrait is of a fine size, the criterion of size being strongly correlated with the artist's price. It is the artist's signature subject, an elegant Parisian woman in evening dress. The distinguished posture of this beautiful young woman stands out against a background skilfully shaded in green and pink. The intelligent look can be seen under the veil, the hairstyle and accessories are carefully treated. The evening gloves, black with yellow dots, are certainly Domergue's favourite accessory. They play an essential role in the perfect construction of the lines and the remarkable balance of colours.
Cannes, Villa Domergue
Paris, Museum of Modern Art
Bordeaux, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Nantes, Musée des Beaux-Arts
9 500 €