Much like his beloved Jean Baptiste Chardin, Zárraga's versatility in treating nudes, religious and sport related images convey one underlying message: paintings must exhibit certain qualities, a solid construction and carefully crafted chromatic values to suggest a sense of permanence and aspiration.
Zárraga was arguably the first 20th-Century artist to explore the world of soccer. His male—and surprisingly—female subjects are often times painted in the heat of a game, kicking, disputing a ball, or solidly posing for the artist in quasi-heroic poses after the game. Not surprisingly, his contemporary Aristide Maillol ascribed him to the “Evolutive Classicism” movement he promoted in the early 1920's.
Futbolistas en el llano freezes a rapid sequence of events: the man in the far distance is looking at the ball he just kicked while one of the defenders falls under the body of the player wearing a green shirt attempting a header goal. The tall keeper rejects the ball with his two fists. The pyramidal construction Zárraga employs here—one of his favorite compositional structures—underlines the strong diagonals of the pink goal keeper. Sun rays increase the tension and suspense in this masterfully crafted mise-en-scène.
Zárraga´s interest in soccer was obviously inspired by his model, lover and wife of 5 years, Jeannette Ivanoff. A Russian born star in the French women´s soccer team, she was part of the team that won the world cup in 1922. Interestingly, Futbolista rubia, one of Zárraga´s portraits of female soccer players of 1926 is also being offered as part of this sale (Lot 31).
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.