Nu Allongée, 1924

by Charles Camoin


DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 23.6 x 32.0 ins/ 60.0 x 81.0 cms
SIGNATURE: Signed and dated “Ch Camoin 1924” lower right
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas

In Nu Allongée Camoin masterfully depicts a curvaceous woman reclining upon a bed, drifting off into a peaceful slumber. The model is painted with a natural ease and suggestive sensuousness, concentrating on the idea of woman as muse, relaxed and pensive with a sure sense of colour. The soft curves of her body are echoed by the swathes of cloth that she reclines upon.

Catalogue No: 5020 Categories: ,

The 1920’s marked a significant point in Camoin’s career when he moved his focus away from painting landscapes and still life’s, to become increasingly focused on the depiction of female nudes in rich and sumptuous environments. Influenced by his friend and neighbour Henri Matisse, he developed a penchant for placing his sitter in an interior space with lavish patterning with a focus on different textures and motifs. The lush, colourful green backdrop behind the sitter’s body gives suggestions of an exterior landscape and yet the model appears to be inside. This suggests that this piece is a combination of a study from real life, as well as a view into the sitter’s dreams. As ever, Camoin’s primary concerns were with simple expression and sensuous surface as demonstrated so beautifully in this piece.

This piece was exhibited at the famous Salon d’Automne in 1926 under the title “Nu au voile de Gênes”.  Gênes, now present day Genoa, was a part of France under Napoleon and was famous for the indigo dye that they used for sails and sailing apparel. The title clearly alludes to the veins of indigo running through the painting and the bright blue sails of Genoa. The work was also exhibited that same year at Galerie Bourgeat in Paris, a gallery that was renowned for exhibiting avant-garde artists.


Regis-Thiollet, Argenteuil, 24 November 1998, n°11 (repr.p.1 of the catalogue);
Anonymous sale, Artcurial, Paris, 23 March 2010, lot 41;
Private Collection, by whom acquired in 2010;
Private Collection, London


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The artist was born in Marseilles.  His father having died when Camoin was only six years he went on to travel with his mother frequenting Paris and St. Tropez.  He attended Art School when he became sixteen years.


A year later he became the pupil of Gustave Moreau at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris where he also met and befriended Albert Marquet and Henri Matisse.  Matisse and his friends which included Camoin, formed the original group of artists known as the ‘Fauves’.  Affiliated to Fauvism Camoin went on to find success, exhibiting regularly in Paris and attending other European Exhibitions.


Camoin always remained close to Matisse and one particular portrait is now in the permanent collection of the Pompidou Museum. Later he was very much influenced by Impressionism and Renoir. He travelled extensively throughout Europe continuing to accompany his friends but it was the French provinces that he preferred.  He eventually divided his time between his studio in Montmartre and Saint Tropez. He remained devoted to his favourite subject matters which included landscapes, female portraits and still-lifes.  He later married Charlotte Prout in 1940.


The artist died in Paris in 1965.





This work will be included in the forthcoming Charles Camoin catalogue raisonné being prepared by the Archives Camoin.


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