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Details & Cataloguing

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Moïse Kisling
1891 - 1953
MIMOSAS
signed Kisling (lower left)
oil on canvas
73 by 54cm., 28 3/4 by 21 1/4 in.
Painted in 1938.
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This work will be included in the fourth volume of the Catalogue raisonné of works by Moïse Kisling currently in preparation by Jean Kisling and Marc Ottavi.

Provenance

Robert Freund, Vienna & New York
Obelisk Gallery, London
Sale: Christie's, London, 3rd April 1979, lot 30
Sale: Vente Me Blache, Versailles, June 1979
Private Collection, Europe
Sale: Christie's, New York, 6th November 2013, lot 369
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner 

Literature

Jean Kisling & Henri Troyat, Kisling, Turin, 1982, vol. II, no. XVI, illustrated in colour p. 181

Catalogue Note

Bursting with vibrant colour and light, the present work belongs to Moïse Kisling’s celebrated series of paintings which glorify the beauty and delicacy of the mimosa flower. The artist began depicting mimosas as a theme from the 1920s onwards, and the plant forms the subject of some of his most significant and impressive still lifes. Traditionally associated with philosophical thought and discovery, the mimosa has been connected with creative and artistic endeavour throughout the centuries. Robert M. Maniquis has commented on the historic importance of the mimosa and its symbolism: ‘It became a popular cliché in metaphors for human sensibility, both delicate and empathising, but also a literary emblem, completely Romantic, that often implied in sensitivity not only a state of feeling but also one of being’ (Robert M. Maniquis, The Puzzling Mimosa: Sensitivity and Plant Symbols in Romanticism in Studies in Romanticism, vol. III, Spring 1969, no. 3, p. 129).

Kisling’s superb utilisation of painterly technique in order to suggest a richness of texture, showcased by the befitting subject matter of mimosas with their bright bursts of yellow, relates to his interest in Old Master still lifes. Jean Kisling, the artist’s son, has noted that: ‘Kisling professed a high conscience of the artist's duties with regard to the perfection of basic drawing, and the quality of subject matter. As a colourist, he did not set a fixed boundary when it came to juggling nuances, contrasts, or the connection between tonalities: he paid great attention to the quality of pigments. I can still hear him say: “Do you find this beautiful?... Yes, but you will see in 300 years! One must paint for posterity. One must also allow for the viewer to read the joy that the painter felt upon the creation of the work”' (Jean Kisling (ed.), Kisling, 1891-1953, Germany, 1995, vol. III, p.  51).

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