JEAN SOUVERBIE ( 1891-1981) Les baigneuses... - Lot 134 - Osenat

Lot 134
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JEAN SOUVERBIE ( 1891-1981) Les baigneuses... - Lot 134 - Osenat
JEAN SOUVERBIE ( 1891-1981) Les baigneuses Oil on canvas Signed and dated 'Souverbie 27' (bottom left) 83.5 x 102.5 cm Painted in 1927 Mr Frédéric Souverbie confirmed the authenticity of this work. Provenance: Galerie Henri Benezit, Paris (gallery stamp, on the frame). Private collection, France. Bibliography: F. Souverbie, Jean Souverbie 1891-1981, Ed. Gourccuff-Gradenigo, Montreuil, 2021, p. 46, no. 77 (illustrated in color). JEAN SOUVERBIE: NEO-CLASSIQUE IN THE MODERN ERA "[...] Having started out as a cubist - but a reasonable cubist, without the disordered exaggerations that make some extreme avant-garde painters look like brainless people - Souverbie followed the normal, logical evolution towards a classically inspired realism." Anonymous, 'Beaux-arts. Nos artistes à Paris', L'Echo de Paris, 25 October 1929, p. 9. The last child of a well-to-do family from Boulogne-Billancourt, Jean Souverbie grew up between Versailles and Saint-Germain-en-Laye in a protected environment, a consequence of his fragile health. A loner, the young Souverbie began to paint at the age of 10, and never left his brushes until his death in 1981. He trained with the academic painter Jean-Paul Laurens at the Julian academy, but it was mainly with Maurice Denis, whom he met in 1908, that the young painter found his mentor. He began to rub shoulders with the already famous circle of Nabis painters - Bonnard, Sérusier, Vuillard, Vallotton - through the Académie Ranson, where Souverbie studied from 1916 to 1918. There he acquired, in the words of the critic Raymond Cognat, "a taste for extreme sobriety, a refined and restricted palette, a refusal of violent contrasts, a predilection for muted chords" (quoted in Jean Souverbie, ed. galerie J.-C. de Chaudun, Paris, 1959, p. 199). Souverbie's influences gradually asserted themselves at the beginning of the 1920s, with classicism as a common thread: mythology and Greco-Roman art, early Italian Renaissance painting (Masaccio, Giotto), Botticelli, Velasquez, Poussin, Ingres (whom Souverbie respectfully calls Monsieur Ingres). Still at the Ranson Academy, Souverbie develops his interest in Cubism through the teaching of the Brazilian painter Pedro Luiz Correia de Araújo, who leads Souverbie towards a softened synthesis of Cézanne, while maintaining a very pronounced classical line, inherited from Souverbie's taste for classical art. The artist also discovered the work of Picasso, Gris and above all Braque, to whom Souverbie would often be compared and to whom he praised his unwavering admiration. In 1927, the year in which Les baigneuses was painted, Jean Souverbie experienced his first critical and commercial success. He had been represented since 1925 by the Vavin-Raspail gallery, and in 1926 had his first major solo exhibition. In 1928, Souverbie signed with the prestigious Bernheim-Jeune gallery. It was also during these years that the artist met Picasso, with whom he became friends. Souverbie produced his first large compositions typical of the Return to Order movement, which Les baigneuses perfectly embodies through its reinterpreted classicism: despite a synthetic cubist treatment at the cutting edge of the avant-garde, the atemporal subject of the draped nymph refers to ancient sculpture, the frontal composition in a frieze recalls neo-classical art in the eighteenth century, and the large size respects the codes traditionally reserved for history painting. Thus, Souverbie asserts himself as an innovator of neo-classicism in the era of modernity.
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