JEAN-FRANÇOIS RAFFAËLLI | ELÉGANTE AU CHIEN
1850 - 1924
ELÉGANTE AU CHIEN
signed JFRAFFAËLLI (lower right)
oil on canvas
canvas: 33 ⅜ by 17 ⅞ in.; 85 by 45.5 cm
framed: 40 ¾ by 25 ¼ in.; 103.5 by 54.1 cm
We thank Galerie Brame & Lorenceau for kindly confirming the authenticity of this work, which will be included in their forthcoming Jean-François Raffaëlli computerized catalogue critique now in preparation.
Oil on canvas, with a strip lining. The picture surface is in generally good condition. Under UV light, there is scattered inpainting along the edges, including a small area at the lower right edge, as well as several tiny spots in woman's dress and at far left center.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.
Domestic and global shipments are currently experiencing delays. All successful buyers will be contacted to discuss options for shipment and collection of property, but should anticipate longer shipping timelines than usual.
Sale: Tajan, Drouot, Paris, November 16, 2001, lot 109, illustrated
Stair Sainty Gallery, London
Earlier in his career, Jean-François Raffaëlli was primarily concerned with representing and exploring the individual character of the working class rag pickers, street sweepers and wood cutters in the Parisian suburb of Asnières. After he gained fame in the Impressionist exhibitions of 1880 and 1881, and later relocated to a city studio on the rue de Courcelles, the artist turned his attention towards the leisure class of Paris, producing street scenes where élégantes mingled with chiffoniers and fabricants. Of this transition, Raffaëlli said: “I work according to the humor of the moment… Today I am an optimist, and my paintings that you can see on the Champ-de-Mars are joyful. I have fallen in love with light!... My mode of working, I repeat, follows the whims of my humor and I think it must be so" (“Raffaëlli, champ-de-Mars,” Le Figaro, May 27, 1896, translated from the French as quoted in Marianne Delafond and Caroline Genet-Bondeville, Jean François Raffaëlli, exh. cat., Musée Marmottan-Monet, Paris, 1999, p. 49).
Painted with finesse, the present work is a showcase for Raffaëlli's confident brushwork and use of a sophisticated, shifting palette of whites, greys, and blacks in the figure’s costume and gloves, with pops of yellow-golds in her hair, hat ornament and chain echoed in the collar of her canine companion. A spare yet expressive use of paint suggests the carpet and mouldings of a bourgeois interior, as the élégante looks out at the viewer while she pulls up her gauzy glove to depart for a promenade on the bustling boulevards. The seeming spontaneity of the subject, as if photographed mid-movement, reveals the influence of Edgar Degas on Raffaëlli, one of his most talented protégés, among other Impressionists. The composition's fashionable figure, coloration, attention to detail and the subtle narrative all contributes to Raffaëlli’s fabulously captivating portrait of the caractérisme of Belle Époque Paris.