Julius Mordecai Pincas or Jules Pascin as he was known, was a painter born in 1885 in Bulgaria to an Italian Serbian mother and a Spanish Jewish father. He was initially educated in Vienna before moving to Munich, and then at the outbreak of World War I he moved to America where he travelled mostly in the southern states. Despite this, he is best known as a Parisian painter, as when he moved to the city in 1905 he quickly identified with the Modernist art movement.
After travelling in America, Pascin became the symbol of the Montparnasse artistic community in Paris which was famous for experiencing it’s ‘Annees Folles’ or ‘Crazy years’ in the 1920’s and then in the 1930’s becoming the heart of intellectual and artistic life. Montparnasse was at the opposite end of the social spectrum from the refinements of the Dandyism found in the Montmartre district that was so popular with Emile Zola, Manet and Degas in the years preceding Pascin.
This work, from 1924 is from a period in which Pascin mostly painted fragile ‘petites filles’ who were either prostitutes waiting for clients, or models waiting for a sitting to end. Here Pascin has depicted the French actress, Simone D’Alal. In his drawings such as this, he took inspiration from the candid portraits of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec at the Academie Colarossi.