Lot 323
  • 323

Henri Lebasque

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  • Henri Lebasque
  • signed Lebasque (lower left); signed on the reverse
  • oil on canvas
  • 59.5 by 73cm., 23 3/8 by 28 3/4 in.


Galerie Maeght, Cannes (by 1947)
Acquired by the family of the present owner in France in the 1950s

Catalogue Note

The present work shows the artist’s daughters Marthe and Nono in Saint-Jean-de-Monts in 1917. Nono (christened Hélène) was 17 years old and Marthe 25 when their father captured them by the sea, one sitting in a deckchair reading a book and the other holding a fashionable parasol.

As a loving father, Lebasque depicts his two daughters at leisure, enjoying themselves in the sun. The painting shows a very personal and intimate moment of their family life. As Lisa A. Banner has written: ‘Intimism, a term which best describes Lebasque’s painting, refers to the close domestic subject matter in such a manner as to convey the personal nature of his response to the thing painted, and the universal familiarity of home and family. There is a sense of calm infused in Lebasque’s paintings which celebrates the fullness and richness of life. Lebasque portrays his family in particular, but in such a way that he appeals to a larger sense of family gathering and devotion’ (L.A. Banner, Lebasque 1865-1937, San Francisco, 1986, p. 12).

Marthe et Nono is a beautiful example of Henri Lebasque’s œuvre. The use of fresh and striking colours, the spontaneity of the moment - just as Marthe Lebasque would recall later: ' 'Come here for a little look', the artist would say, and the daughters would be caught for a short while as his swift brush conveyed their forms to the canvas' (quoted in ibid, p. 38).