NUDE RECLINING IN AN ARMCHAIR
studio stamp atelier O'CONOR on the reverse
oil on canvas
46 by 55cm., 18 by 21¾in.
Painted circa 1915-18.
Original canvas. Some minor frame abrasions to extreme edges and small spot of paint loss to left side of lower edge; overall the work appears in very good condition.
Ultraviolet light reveals some minor flecks of retouching, mostly located in the white drape.
Held in a gilt plaster frame with a canvas inset.
"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. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
The artist's studio sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 7 February 1956;
Christie's, London, 22 May 1998, lot 167 (as Reclining Nude), where purchased by the present owner
The capacious studio at 102 rue du Cherche-Midi on Paris’s Left Bank that O'Conor occupied from 1904 to 1933 became the setting for many drawings and paintings of female nudes. Early on his concern was to study the figure, not in isolation but as part of a seemingly domestic room setting, using comfortable furniture and drapes to create a relaxed ambience. Nude Reclining in an Armchair is a highly painterly example of O'Conor's intimiste phase of work, its bright palette a direct consequence of the artist’s trip to the Côte d’Azur in 1913 that infused his work with primary colours.
The figure of this model fills the canvas from corner to corner, bisecting the composition such that the foreground drapes catch the full strength of the daylight entering the room, whilst the space beyond recedes into shadow. The closeness and luminosity of the forms renders them highly palpable, and it would appear from the model’s inclined head and closed eyes that she has fallen asleep, enhancing the privacy of the moment. The confident and bold brushstrokes suggest that the painting was most probably completed in one sitting, premier coup – a method of working that O’Conor learned from his teacher, Carolus-Duran (1837-1917), and which he would pass on to the young Matthew Smith who met and befriended him at the end of 1918.