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Federico Zandomeneghi (Italian, 1841-1917)
Federico Zandomeneghi (Italian, 1841-1917)

Femme Lisant

Federico Zandomeneghi (Italian, 1841-1917)
Femme Lisant
pastel on paper
25 x 19 3/8 in (63.3 x 49.3 cm.)
Executed circa 1890.
Private collection, France.

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Alexandra McMorrow
Alexandra McMorrow

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Lot Essay

When Federico Zandomeneghi arrived in Paris in 1874, the Venetian painter was already a fully formed artist with a noted ability for figure painting, honed in particular during the period he spent working with the exponents of Florentine realism, the Macchiaioli.

However, Zandomeneghi's style was to change radically under the influence of the young French Impressionists, alongside whom his work was included in the group's second exhibition in 1876. Exhorted by critics such as Emile Duranty to find his subject-matter in Parisian modern life, and invited by Edgar Degas to participate in the fourth Impressionist exhibition of 1879, Zandomeneghi's style evolved into one which adhered to Impressionist tenets, while maintaining a significant narrative element.

Zandomeneghi's principal medium was pastel, a technique also favoured by Degas, but characterised by more intense colours, applied with a denser, almost painterly technique. The resulting works have a concentrated intensity, which seemed to exaggerate the intimacy of the interiors that formed the core of his subject matter.

The present work shows a lady seated half length against a background of vibrant colour planes. Intently reading her book, mostly likely in the setting of a Paris café, she is the epitome of the modern, emancipated woman. The emphasis is not so much on the figure's feminine beauty, but on her concentrated expression, which is set into such stark relief by the coloured background, and framed by the intense dark blues of her hat and collar.

We would like to thank Francesca Dini for authenticating this work, which is sold with her photo-certificate no. 2554.

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