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Eugène Robert Pougheon (1886-1955)
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Eugène Robert Pougheon (1886-1955)


Eugène Robert Pougheon (1886-1955)
signed and dated 'Robert Pougheon 1926' (upper right)
oil on canvas
94 x 94 in. (240 x 240 cm.)
Painted in 1926
Galerie du Luxembourg, Paris, by 1975.
Galerie Alain Blondel, Paris.
Anonymous sale, Christie's, New York, 10 December 1998, lot 182.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
'Art Deco at Stratford: revisiting a brief chapter', in Ontario Globe and Mail, 11 June 1975, p. 2 (illustrated).
Paris, Salon d'art français, 1926.
Stratford, Ontario, The Gallery, Deco 1925-1935, June - September 1975, no. 202, p. 56 (illustrated p. 31); this exhibition later travelled to Vancouver, Centennial Museum, Edmonton, Art Gallery, Hamilton, Art Gallery, Montreal, Musée d'art contemporain, Québec, Musée and Winnipeg, Art Gallery.
Buenos Aires, Museo Nacíonal de Arte Decorativo, September 1985.
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Lot Essay

Eugène Robert Pougheon's masterpiece Amazones was painted in 1926, the year after the long-awaited Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes opened in Paris, the celebrated exhibition which gave us the term "Art Deco". Here the nations of the world joined together in a spectacular five month presentation of the most up-to-date ideas and designs of the international avant-garde in the fields of architecture and applied arts. Foremost amongst the elaborate Pavillions de Prestiges was that of the Ruhlmann group, the Hôtel du Collectionneur, which featured, as the focal point of the central room, Jean Dupas' Les perruches (fig. 1). For Dupas, Pougheon and the other artists of the School of Bordeaux, this exhibition must have signified that they now represented the height of the Art Deco movement.

Eugène Robert Pougheon was born in Paris in 1886 and studied under Jean-Paul Laurens and Albert Besnard at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and under Charles Lameire at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs. He was closely associated throughout his life not only with Dupas, but also with other well known artists of the Bordeaux school--René Buthaud, Jean Gabriel Domergue, Raphael Delorme, Jean Despujols and Alfred Janniot. In 1914 Pougheon won the Prix de Rome and in 1927, the year after Amazones was painted, he was awarded the silver medal at the Paris Salon, following this two years later with a gold medal. In 1935 he started teaching at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, was made director of the Villa Médicis in 1942 and later became curator of the Musée Jacquemart-André.

It was during his stay in Italy at the Villa Médicis after winning the Prix de Rome that Pougheon's work became more stylized and geometric, his nudes achieving a post-cubist sculptural monumentality akin to that of Tamara de Lempicka. While Lempicka's powerful women are often characterized by decorative references to technological advances of the era however, Pougheon's Amazones are more rooted in classical antecedents, his composition and landscape betraying the influence of Puvis de Chavannes. Like Dupas' women in Les perruches, Pougheon's Amazones are at the cutting edge of the Art Deco movement, their solidity and monumentality providing a firm contrast to the movement and transience of the natural world surrounding them.

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