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JEAN DUPAS (1882-1964)
JEAN DUPAS (1882-1964)

STUDY FOR THE 'CHARIOT OF POSEIDON' MURAL, CIRCA 1934/35

Details
JEAN DUPAS (1882-1964)
STUDY FOR THE 'CHARIOT OF POSEIDON' MURAL, CIRCA 1934/35
designed for the Grand Salon of Normandie, graphite, charcoal and ink on paper, with silvered wood frame
18 x 30 in. (45.7 x 76.2 cm.) sight size
signed Jean Dupas 1935
Provenance
Christian Grandin, Paris, Vente de l'atelier de Marguerite Grain, 26 February 1987, lot 5B.

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Lot Essay

cf. B. Foucart et al., Normandie: Queen of the Seas, New York, 1985, pp. 70-71 for the complete mural on board the S.S. Normandie, p. 73 for the complete drawing of the 'Chariot of Poseidon' mural.

These drawings were preserved in the artist's studio, but fell victim, first to a fire and then to the damaging effects of the water pumped in by the fire brigade. This drawing for the central section of 'The Triumph of Poseidon' survived, though it bears on its left edge light traces of this accident. It is marked up with grid lines to allow the eventual transfer of the design.
A bearded river god holds an urn in his right arm from which water flows into the ocean, his left arm leans on an Aeolian harp; a Triton and his winged sea-horse rise above him; in the foreground, a figure representing the winds rises from the waves and blows the harp into life; in the background we perceive the mask of a grotesque sea-monster who provokes the roar of the ocean. The complexity of the theme, the drama of the composition, and the rich detailing constitute a distinctive French neo-baroque style, modulated by the neo-classical elements that Dupas favored - clarity of line, frontal composition, lack of a receding perspective. In his ambition to revive the tradition of monumental painting, Dupas showed a determination to challenge the minimalist aesthetic of the Bauhaus and certain Northern schools.

This work will be included in the Jean Dupas catalogue raisonné currently being prepared by Romain Lefebvre.

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