Details & Cataloguing

Collection Marianne et Pierre Nahon - Day Sale


Bernard Dufour
1922 - 2016
oil on canvas
Executed in 1983-1984.
195 x 374 cm; 76 3/4 x 147 1/4 in.
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Acquired from the artist by the present owners

Catalogue Note

In the big frontal montage he painted under the title A la peinture, Dufour reconstructed, image after image, what drawing, with its hesitations, scruples and duplications, compromises.

The canvas stayed nearly two years in his studio. Started in July 1983, it quickly became the source of the painter’s main doubts and obsessions. We would not be interested in the successive states of the painting if this sort of twists and growing of the thought, this back and forth on the canvas, like in memory, were not the very subject of the painting.

Three figures, three faces somehow similar but located in three different spaces, three sorts of light, and three types of emotional contacts. In the same way a movie can be a coherent and powerful work even though it consists of a succession of photograms, this painting simultaneously proposes a sequence of images and a freeze frame.

A potted aralia stands between two faces, near the painter’s table, with its color tubes, jars and paintbrushes. The slightly faded green of the leaves plays with the pale blue of the artist’s overall. The thorns are not visible.

Angelic, his big blue eyes wide open on the world. Angelic, his way of representing everything up front to avoid the vanishing lines of the three-quarters view or the profile’s medallion. Angelic, his quest for resemblance through the wanders of abstraction, the trap of the nude and the illusion of the self-portrait.

Yet delicate to know which of the drawing or painting precedes the other, by right or time. Delicate too, the introduction of a landscape in a reference system where the painter goes back and forth between his identity and function. And delicate, the apparition of a large white strip in the middle of a painting where protagonists, landscape and quotes threaten to tip over, and then simply disappear.

Collection Marianne et Pierre Nahon - Day Sale