Lot 194
  • 194

Henri Lebasque

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  • Henri Lebasque
  • La sieste

  • Stamped with the signature Henri Lebasque (lower left)
  • Oil on canvas


Estate of the artist
Madame Henri Lebasque


Paris, Salon d'Automne, 1921, no. 1392, p. 195,
Nice, Musée des Ponchettes, Henri Lebasque 1865-1937, 1957, no. 22, p. 12 (titled La sieste, à Madame Lebasque)
Le Cannet, Espace Bonnard, Henri Lebasque, La transfigurée lumière, 2002, p. 45 illustrated (titled Nu au cannet)


Paul Vitry, Henri Lebasque, Paris, 1928, p. 210

Catalogue Note

The present work is one of Lebasque's iconic portrayals of the female nude.  Lisa Banner highlights the importance of the female nude in Lebasque's oeuvre, "Lebasque displays this model at ease in the sunny interiors of his house at Le Cannet, in various close and revealed poses, full of gentle curves in movement and stroke of colors...  Henri Lebasque invites the viewer into this intimate and private world, laden with the power of suggestion and seduction...  These women softened and full as the bodies of Renoir's nudes, have a substance and naturalism which make them immediately pleasing.  They are presented in a manner to suggest the artist's ease with his model and her naturalness with him."  (Lisa Banner & Peter Fairbanks, Henri Lebasque 1865-1937, (exhibition catalogue) San Francisco, 1986, p. 74)  Banner continues, "Lebasque demonstrated in his odalisques, as in all his best work, a quiet vitality and an energy contained even in repose.  Lebasque painted his young models in poses of penetrating intimacy and subtle clarity..." (op. cit., p. 72).

Monumental in scale and subject matter, the present work highlights Lebasque's fascination with both the portrayal of the female nude and her rich adjoining ornamentation, showing delight in depicting luxuriant fabrics and color.  As suggested by the title, the model in the present work has been captured in a deep slumber while exposing her body.  The fleeting moment of the depicted scene has a voyeuristic feel.  The viewer's gaze is focused on the sensitively captured surface tones of the model's skin, whose smoothness and curvilinear forms are in harmony with the still life and textiles surrounding her.