Lot 36
  • 36


80,000 - 120,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Jacques Majorelle
  • La belle Zohra
  • signed and dated J. Majorelle / 1955 (lower left)
  • gouache and charcoal heightened with gold on paper
  • 54 by 72cm., 21½ by 28½in.


Sale: Artcurial, Paris, 5 June 2012, lot 19
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner


Félix and Amélie Marcilhac, Jacques Majorelle, Répertoire de l’œuvre peint, Paris, 2017, p. 292, no. 116, catalogued & illustrated

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1955, La belle Zohra is as beguiling as she is alluring. Possibly a local girl encountered during one of Majorelle's many travels around Morocco, she holds a lavish and provocative pose that recalls the curvaceous anatomy of Titian's Venus of Urbino and can also be likened to Modigliani’s sensual nudes. The white linen heightens Zohra's dark-toned skin, whilst the soft pink hair band adds a feminine touch to her voluptuous physicality. Majorelle first set eyes on Morocco in 1917 at the age of thirty-one. Landing at Tangiers, he was immediately captivated by the country's light, atmosphere, topography and people, and would eventually spend the rest of his life there. In 1923 he began work on his villa in Marrakech, built in the Moorish style, and whose landscaped tropical gardens, restored by Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé, are now world famous.

Following in the footsteps of the great Orientalist painters, Majorelle introduced a whole new pictorial language to the genre, founded on the latest artistic currents and notably the work of fellow painter Henri Matisse. Adopting a fresh style and painting en plein air, he took a particular interest in the local people, their costumes, and their traditions.