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Georges (Jirí) Kars (1882-1945)
THE SCHOOL OF PARIS: A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION
Georges (Jirí) Kars (1882-1945)

Les baigneuses (The Judgement of Paris)

Details
Georges (Jirí) Kars (1882-1945)
Les baigneuses (The Judgement of Paris)
signed 'Kars' (lower left)
oil on canvas
39 3/8 x 31 5/8 in. (100 x 81 cm.)
Painted circa 1912
Provenance
The artist's estate.
Tiroche Gallery, New York and Jaffa; sale, Loudmer, Paris, 8 April 1990, lot 233.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.

Brought to you by

Michelle McMullan
Michelle McMullan

Lot Essay

The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by PhDr. Rea Michalová, Ph.D., expert on Czech art of the 20th century.

Kars is one of the first generation of Czech modern artists, making his work, especially the early work from 1905-1925, important but not fittingly well-known or appreciated. Unlike his contemporaries, Kars did not attend the Prague Academy, nor did he take part in their first exhibitions.

Initially more fortunate in his life and career than many of his contemporaries, Kars was free from material worries and able to devote his full energy to painting in the inspiring environment of Germany, France and Spain. Following his studies in Germany, where he was initially captivated by the Impressionism of Liebermann and Slevogt, he settled in Paris in 1908, and it was in Montmartre where he met his friends Pascin, Suzanne Valadon and Maurice Utrillo. During this time, Kars also became close to Chagall, Apollinaire, Max Jacob, and the art critic Maurice Raynal. He was also briefly enchanted by the Fauves, in particular Matisse and Derain, whose works employed a wider range of local colour and flat composition, however, his most profound influence and his most important works came from the time of the Cubist revolution.

Les Baigneuses is a painting very much under the influence of Paris - of Picasso’s Demoiselles - but also owing much to Cézanne and to his friend Derain; it is an example of the artist’s harmonious construction, with a wonderfully calming effect. The subtle shading of blue and green tones are used to construct both the illusively plastic volumes of the figures and the flattened forms of the landscape.

After his tragic death in 1945, Kars’s paintings were scattered across various public and private collections in Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Spain, Israel and the United States. The diffuse nature of his work and the impossibility of holding a retrospective exhibition until 2012 are the main reasons why Kars has not yet been sufficiently appreciated.

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