Marie Laurencin (1883-1956)
Marie Laurencin (1883-1956)

Ballerines au repos

Marie Laurencin (1883-1956)
Ballerines au repos
signed 'Marie Laurencin' (upper right)
oil on canvas
36¼ x 28¾ in. (92.2 x 73.1 cm.)
Painted circa 1941
Galerie Motte, Geneva.
Brazilian Ambassador to Switzerland, by 1941.
Ruth O'Hara, New York.
Maria Luiza Cavaleiro Jonas, Brazil, by 1968.
Umeda Art Boeki, Osaka.
Private collection, Japan.
Anonymous sale, Christie's, New York, 13 May 1998, lot 245.
D. Marchesseau, Marie Laurencin, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, Japan, 1986, no. 793 (illustrated p. 323).

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Cornelia Svedman
Cornelia Svedman

Lot Essay

Marie Laurencin was a key member of the avant-garde that included Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, Georges Braque, Max Jacob and Guillaume Apollinaire, celebrated for her extraordinarily distinctive interpretations of feminine form. A merry-go-round of portraits of society figures, musicians, actors and dancers, executed in the powdery palette of pastels, these paintings assimilate certain Cubist lessons, with characteristic flat planes of colour and shallow space, but also show the influence of her training as a stage designer.

The present work depicts one of Laurencin's most favoured subject, ballet dancers. The artist had received her first commission for ballet costumes and set design from Serge Diaghilev in 1923, for the ballet Les Biches. The success of this production resulted in further commissions through the rest of her career, including those for Alfred de Musset's A Quoi rêvent les jeunes filles in 1928 and for the ballet Le déjeuner sur l'herbe in 1945.

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