- Henri Lebasque
MÈRE ET ENFANT DANS LE PARC
Signed Lebasque (lower right)
Oil on canvas
Wally Findlay Gallery,
Galerie Hopkins-Thomas, Paris
Private Collection, United States
Waterhouse and Dodd, London
Acquired from the above on January 31, 2005
Mère et enfant records a family outing in the forest, probably at Pierrefonds, near Compiègne, north of the capital. Here the artist depicts close family friends madame Lamberjack and her daughter Loulou. Most likely painted en plein air, the present work is a delightful souvenir of happy family times. As Lisa Banner explained, "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 celebrate the fullness and richness of life. In his placid scenes of gardens and beaches, terraces and dinner tables, Lebasque portrays his family in particular, but in such a way that he appeals to a larger sense of family gathering and devotion" (Lisa Banner, Lebasque, San Francisco, 1986, p.12).
The composition highlights the artist's fascination with the portrayal of women in their natural surroundings. Lisa Banner discusses the artist's choice of subject matter: "Lebasque's vision of life led him to concentrate upon intimate domestic scenes and close, interior compositions. He was hailed as the painter of "Joy and Light" by art critics and curators of the Louvre in his later life. But Lebasque's primary concerns were with simple expression of sensuous surface... He achieved an intimate manner of painting those scenes and people most dear to him, which was replete with his personal delight in form and color, heightened by his contact with fellow painters Matisse and Bonnard, but characteristically his own"(L. Banner, Lebasque, 1865-1937, San Francisco, 1985, p. 20).