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Federico Zandomeneghi (Italian, 1841-1917)
These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more
Federico Zandomeneghi (Italian, 1841-1917)

Portrait de femme revant

Federico Zandomeneghi (Italian, 1841-1917)
Portrait de femme revant
stamped with the atelier stamp (lower left)
pastel on canvas
36 ¼ x 28 ¾ in. (92 x 73 cm.)
Anonymous sale; Briest Scp, Paris, 5 December 1986, lot 55.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
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Clare Keiller
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Lot Essay

The theme of women reading was one of the most prevalent in Zandomeneghi's oeuvre, in part because it was commercially very popular, but also because it chimed with his own sensitivities.

Zandomeneghi's work was closest in spirit to that of Edgar Degas and Pierre Renoir. With the former he shared a passion for drawing, and an art historical sense which led to a more reserved strand of Impressionism which did not embrace the more dogmatic elements of colour theory, and concentrated on the human form rather than on landscape. With Renoir he shared an appreciation of the female form, but his sensitivity to the subject -- while far from timid or chaste -- was more intellectual than sensual, and focused on capturing those casual moments of women engaged in personal rituals such as combing their hair, arranging flowers, reading or writing. As Enrico Piceni writes:

'The Venetian artist rediscovered the subtle uncertainties of a loving, contradictory being, and underlined her lazy desires, her quivering love for the most futile things, her hidden, shameless aspirations, just as her modesty serves as her instrument of charm and seduction. Renoir's women triumph on a sunny afternoon. Zando's women rest in their boudoir feeling melancholy yet pertly provocative, or they might be found concealing their curiosities behind the veils of their hats...He offered a warm and affectionate sentimental approach to the theme [of women], surpassing the exceptional but cruel and lucid narration of Degas. He also transferred Renoir's ideal deification of woman, the latter's return to Rubens, into a bourgeois reality full of truth but capable of converting an anecdote into poetry.' (E. Piceni, op.cit., 2006, pp. 64-65).

Stylistically, Zando favoured a trademark colours such as light blues, opalescent greens and vibrant pinks. In the present work, the female model is shown serenely contemplating her book, her posture one of quiet repose. The simple palette of light blue background, white dress and pink hues in her skin tones help create bring a calming ambiance to the work. The pastel medium helps infuse the work with an air of lightness, evoking one to consider the sitter’s thoughtful meditation.

This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by Enrico Piceni, stating that the work is to be included in the first supplement to his Zandomeneghi Catalogue raisonné, and dated 26 November 1983, number 73.92.

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