Nu à la rose et chat dans un intérieur

by Edmond Aman-Jean

P.O.A.

DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 36.2 x 28.7 in/92.0 x 73.0 cm
SIGNATURE: Signed lower right
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas

Edmond François Aman-Jean was a leading French painter, pastellist and lithographer of the early 20th Century. His pivotal works are his symbolist portraits, primarily those of young, beautiful, alluring women. Like many French artists of his generation, he was influenced by the new perspectives on Japanese art current in Paris in his day and, more unusually, he was interested in the Pre-Raphaelite artists in England.

Catalogue No: 4982 Categories: ,

In this sensuous painting, Aman-Jean has depicted a nude young woman smelling a beautiful rose. Along with Georges Seurat, Aman-Jean had worked as an assistant to the Symbolist and Academic painter Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. In fact, Seurat and Aman-Jean became so close that they shared a Paris studio in 1879. Art historian Robert Herbert called Seurat’s portrait of Aman-Jean, “one of the great portrait drawings of the nineteenth century”. It was the first work Seurat showed, at the Paris Salon in 1883.  Seurat and Puvis de Chavannes’ influences are evident in this work as the artist has not created a portrait of a living woman but rather he has created a symbolist scene: a beautiful woman within a romantic interior. It is further emphasised by the addition of the wildflowers on the wallpaper, which appear to have a life of their own.

In this piece, Aman-Jean has worked fast as seen by the deep undulant brushstrokes and thick impasto to loosely depict the sitter’s fleshy body and thick drapery. Notably, he loved to paint in pastel shades, using pinks, reds, and violets and this is evident by the pinks of the flowers, dress and textiles. The use of pink as an accent colour further adds to the romanticised feeling of the piece.

Provenance

Private Collection, Belgium;
Private Collection, United Kingdom

 

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Biography

Edmond François Aman-Jean (1858 – 1936) was born in 1858 at Seine-et-Marne department of France. He had his first art lessons with Henri Lehmann at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, where he shared a workshop with Georges Seurat the eminent Pointillist painter. He also befriended the Symbolist painters, Alphonse Osbert and Alexandre Séon.

 

In 1886, he obtained a travelling scholarship and went to Italy, together with Henri-Jean Guillaume Martin and Ernest Laurent; studying the Old Masters. In 1892, he painted a portrait of the poet, Paul Verlaine, during his convalescence for syphilis at the Hôpital Broussais in the 14th arrondissement of Paris. Verlaine dedicated a sonnet to him and they remained good friends until Verlaine’s death in 1896.

 

Aman-Jean was also one of the first to recognize Joséphin Péladan as an important artist and exhibited at one of the first showings held at the Salon de la Rose + Croix. Later, he became an important teacher in his own right; his students included Charles Sydney Hopkinson, Theodor Pallady, and Nicolae Tonitza. In 1923, together with Albert Besnard and Auguste Rodin, he helped create the Salon des Tuileries. Ten years later, he was named a Commander in the Legion of Honour.

 

In 1892, he married Thadée Jacquet, the daughter of an Imperial Prefect, who was also a painter. They had two children, François, who became a well-known writer, and Céline.

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