The way Le Mayeur painted this work is very artistic. With thick short strokes he created a colourful idyll. His technique is simple but effective. Flowers are just dots, leaves just strokes and by the use of light and dark colours the painter suggested sunspots and depth. At this time, Le Mayeur is able to render all he wants to depict in an impressionist way. Which means that just colour and large planes gives an impression of a subject, as if one looks though his eyelashes. Details, which Le Mayeur is going to use later in his life, do not exist in his impressionist period. The way the painting is executed looks so easy and with the minimum of effort. But in fact it is so thoroughly thought out that the artist was able to capture the brightness and colourfulness of the tropical scene by the brilliantly effective colouring. Clearly the hand of a great master, a genius. The painting is a fine example of Le Mayeur's early pre-war Balinese works.
The subject is very charming as well. Just two women talking and walking in the garden in front of the house. Because the girls are painted from the back, the whole scene has a devout atmosphere, which for me adds to the beauty of simplicity, the spirituality and basic greatness of Le Mayeur's technique.
Ni Pollok, who wrote to the father of the present owner, dates the painting from the 1930s. However I have strong arguments that this painting dates from the early Bali period. Probably even from the first eight months Le Mayeur spent in Bali. An almost identical painting, (with slight differences, see the umbrella), which was sold at Christie's, Singapore 30 March 1997, lot 48 [also illustrated in Jop Ubbens and Cathinka Huizing, Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merprhs: Painter-Traveller, Wijk en Aalburg, 1995, no. 157 (illustrated, p. 102)] is known to have been sold at the first exhibition at the YMCA in Singapore March 1933. From a stylistic point of view, I suppose the artist executed this larger work in the first years he arrived on the sun kissed island of Bali. The touch, the colouring and the light. It is a very free, expressionistic period as is also demonstrated by the unrestrained interpretation of anatomy.
Drs. Cathinka Huizing
Christie's wishes to thank Drs. Cathinka Huizing for her writing of the catalogue entry for the present lot.