1 May 2005
Moïse Kisling (1891-1953)
Portrait de Madame Renée Kisling
signed 'Kisling' (lower left)
oil on canvas
28 7/8 x 23¾ in. (73.3 x 60.5 cm.)
Painted in 1917
J. B. Neumann, New York.
John E. Strattonck, Greenwich, Connecticut.
Hammer Galleries, New York.
Anonymous sale, Christie's London, 29 November 1994, lot 277.
Acquired at the above sale by the family of the present owner.
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C. J. Bulliet, The Significant Moderns and their Pictures, New York, 1936, p. 178 (illustrated).
J. Dutourd and J. Kisling, Kisling, Landshut, 1995, vol. III, p. 123, no. 21 (illustrated).
Kisling returned to Montparnasse in 1916 after being discharged from active service as a wounded war veteran. He married Renée Gros, who was the daughter of a high ranking military officer. The couple set up housekeeping in the rue Joseph-Bara and their home became a social magnet for the artistic community in the neighbourhood.
Kisling's portrait of his young bride captures the wistful look of Renée as she leans on the window sill from outside looking inwards. She is framed by abundant green and yellow folliage. Soon after their marriage, Renée "...had her hair cut in a style similar to his (called coupe garçonne, it was popular among fashionable women at that time)". (K.E. Silver in The Circle of Montparnasse Jewish Artists in Paris 1905-1945, New York, p. 21). She appears in this portrait with her blunt-edged haircut and wearing a checked-patterned top, which the couple favoured. "The two of them, dressed as they were in matching checked American cowboy shirts and unmatched socks, were soon among the most picturesque fixtures of Montparnasse." (Ibid.).
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