- Marie Laurencin
- LA MUSIQUE
- Signed and dated Marie Laurencin 1924 (lower right)
- Oil on canvas
Leicester Gallery, London
R.E.A. Wilson, United Kingdom
E. Fairclough (sold: Sotheby's, London, April 12, 1972, lot 26)
Rutland Ltd. (acquired at the above sale)
Sale: Sotheby's, London, July 2, 1975, no. 77
Daniel Marchessau, Marie Laurencin, 1883-1956, Catalogue Raisonné de l'Oeuvre Peint, Japan, 1986, no. 300, illustrated p. 157
Associated with Fauvism and Cubism at the beginning of her career, Marie Laurencin developed an elegantly individualized style by the 1920s when she became a fashionable portraitist and successful decorator. Unaffiliated with any major Modern movement, Laurencin took refuge in an imaginary world inhabited by dreamy women; her art became a celebration of idealized feminine beauty. Laurencin's generation, which matured in the intense atmosphere of pre-war Paris, was scattered by the outbreak of World War I. The twenties were characterized by a general return to order and a shift back to figurative imagery in painting. Laurencin, like many artists of her time, never again approached the artistic tension and inventiveness that had characterized her pre-war production. By the early 1920s Laurencin's art had evolved into a new direction as evidenced by the prominence afforded to women and music in her art.
Having returned to Paris in 1921 Laurencin forged new alliances with the fashionable decorators, musicians and dancers of the day. These connections led to a variety of creative projects which helped spread her fame. The 1924 Paris Olympics were celebrated by a series of musical and dance performances representing the collaboration of Europe's leading musicians, choreographers and artists. Laurencin turned to set and costume design for ballets where she exhibited them at the influential Exposition des Arts Décoratifs in 1925. La musique encapsulates Laurencin's focus on creating a lyrical and harmonious space in nature; the women gesticulate towards and amongst themselves in order to evoke an artistic energy imbued with a musical air. Her palette shifted to a savant harmony of French blue, rose and green played off against gray and black. Throughout the remainder of her career Laurencin was considered to be one of the most prominent portraitists who created a lyrical harmony and unique artistic expression.
Fig. 1 Photograph of the artist in her house on the rue Masseran in Paris circa 1952