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Details & Cataloguing

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André Derain
1880 - 1954
NATURE MORTE
signed aDerain (lower right)
oil on canvas
56.5 by 44.7cm., 22 1/4 by 15 5/8 in.
Painted circa 1901.
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Provenance

Ambroise Vollard, Paris
Marcel Demierre, Paris
Private Collection
Sale: Hôtel des Ventes, Enghien, 21st June 1989, lot 8
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner 

Exhibited

New York, Leonard Hutton Galleries, Fauves and Expressionists, 1968, no. 12, illustrated in colour in the catalogue (titled Nature morte au pichet and as dating from 1904-05)
Geneva, Galerie des Théâtres, Peintres français, 1969, no. 15
Tokyo, Seibu Galleries & Kanasawa, Ishikawa Museum, Les Fauves, 1974, no. 16, illustrated in colour in the catalogue (titled Nature morte au pot bleu and as dating from 1907)
Tokyo, Takashimaya Art Gallery (& travelling in Japan), André Derain, 1981, no. 2, illustrated in colour in the catalogue (titled Nature morte au pot bleu and as dating from 1904)

Literature

Michel Kellerman, André Derain: Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint, Paris, 1992, vol. I, no. 264, illustrated p. 160

Catalogue Note

Painted circa 1901 and characterised by its powerful exploration of light, shadow and line, the present work exemplifies an exciting moment in Derain’s artistic career in which strong bold colours were beginning to emerge and his interest in the subject of still lifes grew. This appealing composition is a fine example from Derain’s early years, when, still in his early twenties, and at the turn of the century, Derain was on the cusp of embarking on his Fauvist period.

The present work, Nature morte, was most likely painted in the wake of the artist’s formative encounter with fellow artist Maurice de Vlaminck, which took place on 18th June 1900. Writing to Vlaminck that year, Derain alludes to the exciting new artistic period on the horizon, when Derain was to become one of the leading pioneers of Fauvism: ‘I am aware that the realist period has come to an end […] and that painting is only just beginning’ (quoted in Georges Hilaire, Derain, Geneva, 1959, p. 66, translated from the French).

In these early years, Derain was enrolled at the Académie Camillo in the Cour du Vieux-Colombier where he was taught by Eugène Carrière, and where Henri Matisse also enrolled for a time. Derain had many important influential friendships during his artistic career, and he shared a studio with Matisse and Vlaminck. This work was once owned by Ambroise Vollard, the dealer whose support was pivotal for so many artists living in Paris, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, who went on to become internationally celebrated.

Within the present work, the midnight blue jug stands at the centre of the still life, drawing the viewer’s eye to the heart of the canvas through the use of chiaroscuro in contrast to the light blue foreground and swathe of bold yellow pigment at the upper left of the composition. Derain here experiments with the use of line, light and shadow - techniques he would continue to experiment with over the years and which are reminiscent of Paul Cézanne’s still lifes. Indeed, the importance of light for Derain is evident in his reflection that ‘One constructs a painting with light [...] light defines the dimensions of adjacent surfaces and directs the rhythm of their relationship’ (quoted in ‘Notes d'André Derain’, in Cahiers du Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris 1980, vol. V, p. 348).

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