Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta (Spanish, 1841-1920)
Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta (Spanish, 1841-1920)

Pierrette

Details
Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta (Spanish, 1841-1920)
Pierrette
signed 'R. Madrazo' (upper right)
oil on canvas
78 3/4 x 37 1/2 in. (200 x 95 cm.)
Provenance
Madrid, Bienes Culturales de la Comunidad de Madrid y del Ministerio de Cultura, no. I-M-01-6494.
Exhibited
Paris, Exposition Universelle, 1878.
Madrid, Museo Municipal, Los Madrazo, una familia de artistas, 1985, no. 92.
S.A. Macarrón, Tesoros del siglo XIX.

Lot Essay

The beginning of Madrazo's true style evolved from the artistic influences of his highly acclaimed brother-in-law Mariano Fortuny and the Belgian artist Alfred Stevens. Also moved by the Parisian atmosphere, Madrazo replaced a family tradition of painting academic works with the newly acquired enthusiasm to paint intimate belle epoque scenes. By the late 19th Century, Madrazo had predominantly dismissed the Spanish artistic lifestyle and begun to concentrate on exhibiting at the Exposition Internationale de Peinture which was designed to promote foreign artists in Paris.

The female portrait was predestined to be Madrazo's distinguishing subject. Pierrette is extremely characteristic of Madrazo's oeuvre; a reminiscent pose, soft, elegant tones, and an overall mastery of colour evident in his treatment of fabrics. A suggestion of Rococo and Japanese art in Madrazo's oeuvre articulates the bourgeois ideal; the desired vision of a sophisticated, opulent, lifestyle perfectly embodied in this magnificiently painted Parisian elegante.

Pierrette and Pierrot, the most popular characters in French pantomime, often appear to be that of two young people frolicking on the rim of a crescent moon. Hundreds of years ago roving performers would tell stories which had been passed down from previous generations. Occasionally political or social situations prompted the performers to ridicule the upper classes and it then became imperative to perform wearing masks to conceal their identities from powerful figures. Soon the story lines became standard and a group of familiar characters evolved. Always in search of love, the characters Pierrot and Pierrette were born.
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