CLAIRE TABOURET (B. 1981)
CLAIRE TABOURET (B. 1981)
CLAIRE TABOURET (B. 1981)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRESTIGIOUS PRIVATE COLLECTION
CLAIRE TABOURET (B. 1981)

Les débutantes (blanc lunaire) (The debutantes (moon white))

Details
CLAIRE TABOURET (B. 1981)
Les débutantes (blanc lunaire) (The debutantes (moon white))
signed, titled, inscribed and dated ‘C. TABOURET LES DÉBUTANTES 1 BLANC LUNAiRE 2014’ (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas
90 1/2 x 129 7/8in. (230 x 330cm.)
Painted in 2014
Provenance
Galerie Bugada & Cargnel, Paris.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2014.
Literature
H. Celdrán, 'Enigmáticas pinturas de chicas jóvenes en bailes de debutantes', in 20 minutos, 20 December 2014 (detail illustrated in colour).
C. Tabouret, ‘Claire Tabouret in Her Own (English) Words’, in The Excellent People, December 2014 (studio view illustrated in colour, p. 71).
A. Diatkine, 'Claire Tabouret, reine des "Débutantes"', in Libération, 21 January 2015 (illustrated in colour, p. 23).
M. Ouvrard, ‘Claire Tabouret – Artiste Peintre’, in Encore, 26 January 2015 (installation view illustrated in colour).
Exhibited
Paris, Galerie Bugada & Cargnel, Claire Tabouret, ‘Les Débutantes’, 2014-2015 (illustrated in colour, p. 7).
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. Please note that at our discretion some lots may be moved immediately after the sale to our storage facility at Momart Logistics Warehouse: Units 9-12, E10 Enterprise Park, Argall Way, Leyton, London E10 7DQ. At King Street lots are available for collection on any weekday, 9.00 am to 4.30 pm. Collection from Momart is strictly by appointment only. We advise that you inform the sale administrator at least 48 hours in advance of collection so that they can arrange with Momart. However, if you need to contact Momart directly: Tel: +44 (0)20 7426 3000 email: pcandauctionteam@momart.co.uk. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Michelle McMullan
Michelle McMullan Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Spanning more than three metres in width, Les débutantes is a dazzling work from Claire Tabouret’s celebrated series of the same name. Subtitled blanc lunaire (‘moon white’), the painting is bathed in an ethereal icy blue glow, its figures seemingly arrested by an enchanted lunar spell. Light and shadow ripple across the glacial folds of their pristine ball gowns, creating an undulating rhythmic pulse. Their gazes meet the viewer’s own, each as inscrutable as the last. Inspired by official group photographs of the Debutante Ball—a traditional rite of passage marking a young woman’s entrance into high society—the series occupies pivotal territory within Tabouret’s ongoing exploration of youth and identity. Here, the artist probes the subtle interactions between her subjects, relishing the interplay of abstract and figurative tensions that bind them together. The series, begun in 2014, also marked something of a debut for Tabouret herself, propelling her to international recognition. Today, she stands as one of the foremost painters of her generation, recently mounting a major solo exhibition at the Palazzo Cavanis as part of the 2022 Venice Biennale.

Born in Pertuis, France, Tabouret came to prominence in the early 2010s, after completing her studies at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris and the Cooper Union School of Art, New York. She moved to Los Angeles shortly after the present work, and went on to mount a string of exhibitions at institutions including the Villa Médicis, Rome, the Yuz Museum, Shanghai, and the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen. Les débutantes marked the crystallisation of the language that would fuel her artistic evolution during these years: Tabouret was, and remains, enthralled by the dynamics of group portraits, seeking to highlight the friction between individual and collective identity. Her characters—often children, or women on the brink of adulthood—are frequently assembled in posed formations, aware they are being watched and conscious of their place within an ensemble cast. In Les débutantes, Tabouret was interested by the way in which the folds of fabric created an almost musical sense of rhythm and harmony that threaded its way through the composition, drawing the characters together into a single undulating mass. In this, she was particularly inspired by the work of Gaëtan Gatian de Clérambault, a French psychiatrist and photographer who was fascinated by costume and drapery.

Though Tabouret mines a wide variety of printed material—from old photographs and magazines to the pages of art history books—her paintings are never direct paraphrases of any one particular source. Instead, they are strewn with evocations and echoes: of bygone eras and faded dreams, of Edvard Munch and Edouard Manet, of imaginary figments and moments long past. Tabouret’s extraordinary handling of light and colour in the present work serves to enhance this quality, demonstrating the use of fluorescent tones that would come to define the Débutantes series. Electric ripples of blue shine through the composition like shards of glass, imbuing the entire canvas with a shimmering luminosity. Such effects may be traced to Tabouret’s oft-cited encounter with Claude Monet’s Nymphéas in the Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris, as a four year old: a formative experience that would inform much of her artistic sensibility. In the confluence of personal, painterly and cultural memory, Les débutantes (blanc lunaire) glows with an indefinable light: of words unspoken, songs unsung and lives yet to unfold.

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