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Study for Spring (preparatory for the Four Seasons) by R.M Castaing
Study for Spring (preparatory for the Four Seasons) by R.M Castaing - Paintings & Drawings Style Art Déco Study for Spring (preparatory for the Four Seasons) by R.M Castaing - Study for Spring (preparatory for the Four Seasons) by R.M Castaing - Art Déco Antiquités - Study for Spring (preparatory for the Four Seasons) by R.M Castaing
Ref : 104471
3 800 €
Period :
20th century
Artist :
Signé René-Marie Castaing et daté 41
Provenance :
Medium :
Pastel on paper
Dimensions :
l. 11.42 inch X H. 21.06 inch
Paintings & Drawings  - Study for Spring (preparatory for the Four Seasons) by R.M Castaing 20th century - Study for Spring (preparatory for the Four Seasons) by R.M Castaing Art Déco - Study for Spring (preparatory for the Four Seasons) by R.M Castaing Antiquités - Study for Spring (preparatory for the Four Seasons) by R.M Castaing
Stéphane Renard Fine Art

Old master paintings and drawings

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Study for Spring (preparatory for the Four Seasons) by R.M Castaing

Provenance: the artist's family. An inscription on the reverse indicates that the drawing belonged to Michel Castaing, the artist's son.

René-Paris Castaing, winner of the Grand Prix de Rome in 1924, left a large body of work, both sacred and secular. Many churches in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, in South-West France still bear witness to the diversity of his talent. In 1942, he began a major decoration project for the Château de Diusse, in the north-east of the county, including an allegory of the four seasons. The vigorous pastel we are presenting here is a study for Spring, depicted as Flore undressing. This commission was a veritable swan song for the artist, who died a year later at the age of 47.

1. René-Marie Castaing, the great inter-war painter in Pau

René-Marie Castaing was born in Pau on December 16th 1896. His father, Joseph Castaing, was also a painter: he was the official portraitist of Pau's high society, which was particularly cosmopolitan at the end of the century, when many rich foreigners spent the winter in Pau, taking advantage of the mild weather to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle punctuated by hunting, horse ridings and golf.

René-Marie Castaing was admitted to the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris in April 1920 and entered the studio of Paul-Albert Laurens (1870-1934). In 1924, he was awarded the First Grand Prix de Rome for Painting, which earned him a stay at the Villa Médicis for more than three years. He then returned to Pau in 1928, where he lived until his death.
Castaing's work is marked by the academic tradition, in which drawing plays as important a role as painting. Although his drawings are often sketches that help to set up large painted compositions, they stand as independent artworks in which the artist fully expresses the vivacity of his talent.

Castaing was a fervent Christian and religious painting played an essential part in his work, as shown by the decorations he created for the churches of Bizanos, Borce, Bidache and Salies-de-Béarn. The painter also created several secular decorations, such as that for the dining room of the Villa Saint-Basil's in Pau in 1935, and the Hunting at the Albret’s time commissioned in 1940 by the Prefecture of Pau. The décor created in 1942-1943 for the Château de Diusse, a mansion located north-east of Pau, was his last large-scale décor, as the painter died shortly after its completion on December 8th 1943.

2. Description of the drawing

Our pastel depicts an eminently secular theme: Spring is embodied by Flore, crouching on the ground with one knee touching the ground. She reveals her ample bosom by removing her shirt, her arms raised above her shoulders to undress.

Given Castaing's classical training at the Beaux-Arts and the influence of ancient statuary on his work, we might be tempted to compare the position of our Spring with that of the Venus of Vienna (seventh photo in the gallery), a sculpture from the 2ème century BC in the Louvre, which is in a similar position, though with the right knee on the ground (and not the left one as in our drawing). Our drawing can also be compared to the Flore by Carpeaux (eigth photo on the gallery), an artist who also inspired Castaing for another painting for Diusse representing Dancing.

The choice of this position (which was probably very uncomfortable for the model!) enabled the artist to achieve a technical tour de force in the foreshortened representation of the bent leg, depicted from three-quarter view.

3. The decoration of the Château de Diusse

Diusse is a small village near Garlin in the north-east of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques county, and this mansion was built in the 17th century. In the early 1940s, it belonged to an industrialist, Elie Sansoube, who commissioned René-Marie Castaing to paint a series of canvases to decorate the interior of his house.

Produced between 1941 and 1943, this series included several allegories executed in colours evocating red chalk: Hunting, Fishing, Dancing and finally The Four Seasons, evoked in a style reminiscent of Rubens, as well as illustrations of two Perrault fairy tales, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty treated in the manner of Boucher.

The Four Seasons (last photo on the Gallery) is the largest canvas in the series. Measuring almost 6 meters long and 2 meters high, it features a long frieze of voluptuous female figures, surrounded by puttis in comical attitudes. On the left Flora, the allegory of Spring, is undressing; she is followed by Ceres asleep in the hay (symbolizing Summer). On the right, two equally naked young women are picking the fruits of Autumn, while Winter is represented on the right by a woman huddled in a large cloak.

This décor, which remained in place until 2004, was unfortunately dispersed when the property was sold and auctioned on 3 June 2004.

4. Framing

The original composition was much wider, but the paper, typical of the poor-quality paper that was the only paper available during the war years, is heavily pitted on the sides. The drawing has been presented with a reduced view for a long time. As this view is now slightly tainted, we have preferred to keep this set-up when refreshing the mount.

The drawing is presented in an Art Deco-style silver-plated wooden frame from the 1940s (its original frame).

Annie Roux-Dessarps - René Marie Castaing Decorative works - Cairn Pau 2006

Delevery information :

The prices indicated are the prices for purchases at the gallery.

Depending on the price of the object, its size and the location of the buyer we are able to offer the best transport solution which will be invoiced separately and carried out under the buyer's responsibility.

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