signed Metzinger (lower right)
Zwemmer Gallery, London
Private Collection (acquired from the above in 1951)
Acquired by the present owner in 1982
The present work is one of a small number of Metzinger compositions fusing a broad, divisionist facture with a fauve palette. This group, which includes the celebrated Paysage coloré aux oiseaux exotiques (Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris), represented the artist's response to the Salon d'Automne of 1905, a review of which saw Louis Vauxcelles coin the term 'Fauve' to describe the circle of artists using bright colour and broad brushstrokes. While on this occasion Metzinger did not exhibit with Matisse, Braque and Vlaminck, since 1904 he had shown alongside these artists who were gaining notoriety as Fauves, notably at the Salons des Indépendants.
In the departure from the Neo-Impressionist manner of Metzinger's early years, Baigneuses: Deux nus dans un paysage exotique substitutes the exuberant palette and broader handling of his peers. In both composition and facture though, the work retains a rather more rigorous structure than other Fauve landscapes of the period. It's arcadian subject and a mosaic-like application of paint give a uniquely individual flavour to what Metzinger termed his 'chromatic poetry'.
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