HENRI LEBASQUE (1865-1937)
HENRI LEBASQUE (1865-1937)
HENRI LEBASQUE (1865-1937)
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HENRI LEBASQUE (1865-1937)

Nono à la guitare

HENRI LEBASQUE (1865-1937)
Nono à la guitare
signed 'Lebasque' (lower right)
oil on canvas
34 ¼ x 41 in. (87 x 104 cm.)
Painted in 1923
Galerie Georges Petit, Paris (by 1925).
Galerie Marcel Bernheim, Paris.
Pedro Vallenilla Echeverria, Caracas.
Daniel B. Grossman Gallery, New York.
Private collection; sale, Sotheby's, New York, 14 May 1986, lot 238.
Charles J. Pankow, San Francisco (acquired at the above sale); sale, Sotheby's, New York, 5 November 2004, lot 385.
Richard Green Fine Paintings, London.
Acquired from the above by the family of the present owner, February 2005.
D. Bazetoux, Henri Lebaque: Catalogue raisonné, Neuilly-sur-Marne, 2008, vol. I, p. 209, no. 750 (illustrated).
Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, Twenty-fourth Annual International Exhibition of Paintings, October-December 1925, no. 44.
Further details
Christine Lenoir and Maria de la Ville Fromoit have confirmed the authenticity of this work.

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Lot Essay

When Lebasque moved to Paris in 1885, he studied in the atelier of Léon Bonnat, a painter and professor at the École des Beaux-Arts. Influenced by Bonnat as well as his fellow students Pierre Bonnard and Édouard Vuillard, Lebasque developed an intimiste style, which he continued to explore throughout his career and of which the present large-scale painting is an important later example.
Painted in 1923, Nono à la guitare exemplifies Lebasque’s painterly investigations of domestic scenes. Nono, his youngest daughter, would have been about 23 years old when he painted this picture of her. With her gaze down, effortlessly focused on her guitar, it is as if she did not know she was being painted. Lebasque’s use of soft tones and natural light further imbues the scene with warm intimacy. Marthe Lebasque, the artist’s eldest daughter and Nono’s sister, recalled her father's contentment during this period: “He had a happy disposition, he was content in the middle of his family. He was happy about painting...He adored us forming a happy image. He felt that very strongly, and conveyed that image with such strength in his paintings” (quoted in exh. cat., Lebasque, Montgomery Gallery, San Francisco, 1986, p. 113).
The present work was likely painted in Le Pradet on the Côte d'Azur. It was Henri Manguin who first introduced Lebasque to the South of France in 1906, when the two artists visited the region together. Lebasque fell in love with the southern light and over the next few years, worked in Saint-Tropez, Sainte-Maxime, Nice, Cannes, Le Pradet and Le Cannet, where he eventually settled in 1924. This time spent in the Rivera led to radical transformations in his work, changing his palette and inspiring new ways of applying color and interpreting light. His paintings became infused with greater luminosity and warmth, while his brushwork softened, giving way to greater naturalism in his compositions.
During this period, Lebasque was also influenced by Henri Matisse, his close friend with whom he had founded the Salon d'Automne in Paris in 1903. Like Matisse, Lebasque developed a penchant for the depiction of lavish patterning in interior spaces. His fascination for texture, color and luxuriant fabrics is clearly apparent in the present work, through Nono’s checkered skirt, her ornamented head scarf and the lavish pink upholstered couch she is comfortably seated in, with its blue lilies and Moroccan throw pillow. Lebasque’s use of airy brushwork in his rendering of the texture of the upholstery further recalls the interior scenes Matisse painted in Nice in the early 1920s. Yet, Lebasque is clearly moving away from the intellectual flair of Matisse’s painting to achieve a much greater sense of naturalism.
Nono à la guitare was in the prestigious art collection of Charles J. Pankow for almost two decades, until its sale in 2004. The work has since been in the collection of the late Marvin H. Davidson, a finance magnate and art connoisseur in his own right.

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