PAUL DELVAUX (1897-1994)
PAUL DELVAUX (1897-1994)
PAUL DELVAUX (1897-1994)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more THE ECLECTIC EYE: PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED EUROPEAN COLLECTION
PAUL DELVAUX (1897-1994)

La tente rouge

Details
PAUL DELVAUX (1897-1994)
La tente rouge
signed, dated and inscribed 'P. DELVAUX ST. IDESBALD 1-8-66' (lower right)
watercolour, wash, pen and India ink and pencil on paper
22 1⁄2 x 31 in. (57.2 x 79.5 cm.)
Executed on 1 August 1966
Provenance
Acquired directly from the artist in April 1968, and thence by descent to the present owners.
Exhibited
Ixelles, Muse´e d'Ixelles, Paul Delvaux au Muse´e d'Ixelles, 1967, no. 106.
Brussels, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Paul Delvaux, March - July 1997, no. 220, p. 283 (illustrated).
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.
Further details
The Paul Delvaux Foundation has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

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Olivier Camu Deputy Chairman, Senior International Director

Lot Essay


Imbued with suggestive mystery, La tente rouge is an absorbing and poetic work that perfectly encapsulates Paul Delvaux’s unique artistic vision, creating a dream-like world at once intensely familiar and entirely surreal. Here, a coterie of women wander through a strange architectural space, appearing simultaneously connected and disengaged from one another in a series of possibly inter-related vignettes. Throughout his career, Delvaux had been fascinated by female subjects, often incorporating ethereal, somnambulist women in his paintings. As the artist explained: ‘Woman lends a very special atmosphere to a painting. Though she may be reduced to a tiny part of the scene playing her plastic role in the composition as do other elements, she draws attention to herself and becomes the centre of the composition, while being simultaneously an integral part of the architecture of the painting’ (quoted in G. Carels and C. van Deun, Paul Delvaux: His Life, p. 95).

Here, the cast of women are pictured in various states of undress and elaborate costume, each figure a subtle variation on Delvaux’s familiar female characters, slender and tall, with long flowing hair. At the centre of the composition, a pair of nude women are ensconced in the red tent of the title, the interior illuminated by the bright light emanating from an oil lamp. Their relaxed poses suggest they are unaware of the curious onlookers who peer into their private world, nor the incongruity of setting up such a tent in the middle of a grand public square. Executed in a mixture of delicate washes of watercolour, pencil, and pen and ink, Delvaux plays with the materiality of his pigments to generate a dream-like ethereality within the scene, allowing certain areas to appear transparent and almost ghostly, as if the figures are merely figments of the imagination or the memories of a moment long past.

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