The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Jean-Dominique Jacquemond.
Private Collection, France (and sold: Sotheby's, New York, November 8, 2006, lot 176) Acquired at the above sale
(Possibly) Paris, Salon des Indépendants, 1892, no. 441
Independent from a young age, Georges d’Espagnat shunned the traditional art establishments of his day. Finding the conservative teaching methods and aesthetic principles of these institutions to be too restrictive, he left his studies at the École des Arts Decoratifs and the École des Beaux-Arts shortly after he began them in 1888, preferring instead to study works in the Louvre and attend classes at the more modern Académie Colarossi. This headstrong scorn for tradition ultimately led d’Espagnat to debut his work at the Salon des refusés in 1891. He would go on to exhibit at the first Salon d’Automne in 1903, which was founded as a reaction to the traditionalism of the official Paris Salon. In 1935, d’Espagnat was elected Vice President of the Salon d’Automne and ironically joined the teaching staff at the École des Beaux-Arts around the same time, continuing to teach there until the 1940s. An influential painter, he also worked as an illustrator and theater designer.
Painted not long after he abandoned his formal studies, Le Repos bears witness to d’Espagnat’s independent aesthetic. Though he was undoubtedly familiar with the work of the Impressionists, counting Renoir, Signac, Denis, Bonnard and Vuillard among his close friends, d’Espagnat chose to add his own unique touch to the prevailing style of the time. In Le Repos, d’Espagnat deploys the energetic hues and expressive application of paint typical of Impressionist compositions, but the effect is one more of shocking dissonance than soothing harmony. The contrast between the daringly bright colors of the background, which anticipate the vivid palette of the Fauve artists, and the soft subtlety of the foreground makes for a visually striking composition.
Canvas has been lined. Surface is very richly textured and the impasto is well preserved. There are a few minor lines of stable craquelure visible in areas of thickest pigments, most notable in white clouds in sky and in the lower bodies of both figures. Under UV, several areas of conservative inpainting are visible throughout, most notable along top edge to address frame abrasions as well as a handful of broader strokes in the background hill beyond the river; each approximately 1 inch in diameter. Broadest areas of inpainting are visible in the right figures' left buttock, as well as in that figure's left wrist and in reclining figures right elbow. There are scattered pindot strokes of inpainting also visible throughout each figure. Overall the work is in good condition. In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.