Offered by Galerie Delvaille
Henry Caro-Delvaille (1876-1926)
Oil on canvas signed and dated 1909, lower left
Dimensions : H. 81 x W. 102 cm (with frame : H. 99 x W. 119 cm)
Henry Caro-Delvaille, a Frenchman of Spanish origin, was an important painter of the social life in the early 20th century. His real name was Delvaille ("de la Vallée" in Spanish) but he signed Caro-Delvaille because his mother, with whom he had a close relationship, was named Caroline. From his childhood, Henry Caro-Delvaille was curious about art, observed his surroundings and drew. His mother, a writer and poet, was his first guide.
After studying from 1895 to 1897 at the Bayonne School of Fine Arts, Henry Caro-Delvaille was a student of Léon Bonnat at the Paris School of Fine Arts. He exhibited for the first time at the Salon de la Société des artistes français in Paris in 1899. He became a member of the Société nationale des beaux-arts in 1903 and its secretary in 1904. In 1905, he won the big gold medal at the International Exhibition in Munich. The same year, his friend Edmond Rostand entrusted him with the decoration of his villa in Cambo. He then became known as a portrait painter and received numerous orders. He was made a knight of the Legion of Honor in 1910. His painting can be compared to that of Carolus Duran (1837-1917), a famous painter of the belle époque.
Henri Caro-Delvaille emigrated to the United States in 1913 and settled in New York, moving towards a more Art Deco style. He was a central figure in artistic, literary and musical circles on both sides of the Atlantic, from Paris to New York. Much of his work can be found across the Atlantic today.
Our painting is one of Caro Delvaille's key works, as much for the quality of the treatment as for the subject. Most of the artist's paintings are family portraits and a few nudes that he was commissioned to paint, but for this painting, the painter chose the place that was closest to his heart, the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz. Born in Bayonne, Caro Delvaille dreamed of high society, wealth and splendor during his childhood. The Hotel du Palais, which at that time attracted the great fortunes of Europe, was for him the most beautiful place in the world. Very close to his mother, Caro Delvaille is lulled by literature and poetry that he stages in this painting with three young and beautiful elegant women in front of a balustrade overlooking the infinite ocean. The graceful attitudes of the three characters are noteworthy: while the first young girl on the left of the composition seems to be pursuing a reverie, the other two are leaning slightly towards each other to exchange confidences. In this painting, the artist's talent is particularly evident: exquisite quality of the drawing, purity of the faces and napes, silky rendering of the fabrics, transparent effects of the sails and, in the background, the magnificent representation of the ocean on a windy day.
The provenance of a painting that has already crossed the Atlantic four times: Painted in Biarritz in 1909, this painting was found by a French collector in an important collection in Buenos Aires (Argentina) in the 1980s, and brought back to Paris. Acquired by the Delvaille gallery in 1992, the painting was sold to a private collection in the vicinity of Washington (USA). It is with great pleasure that Olivier Delvaille, the painter's great nephew, has just bought back this work and brought it to Paris, 29 years after having sold it.
18 000 €