Roger GRILLON, Oil on Canvas, Bathers, 1914

Oil on canvas - Ref 24612

by Roger GRILLON (1881-1938)

France, 1914


with frame: 114x94 cm - 44.9x37 inches

without frame: 92x73cm - 36.2x28.75 inches

30F format

Signed lower left "R. Grillon"

Named and dated on the back of the frame "Baigneuses Mars-Juin 1914"

The condition is excellent!

Family provenance, Hôtel Drouot, June 26, 1967. Illustrated on the cover of the catalog

This major work by Roger Grillon is dated March-May 1914. It is very interesting in several aspects. The theme of bathers is represented in the modern period. The productions of Cézanne and Renoir are very well known. Those of Cézanne predate this one by about ten years, this one can be compared to the work of Maurice Denis from the same period.

The work is distributed in two large horizontal planes separated by an intermediate plane.

The lower foreground shows four naked young women seated or lying on a sheet protecting them from the grass. Three of them shield their faces from the sun's rays piercing the trees. Their bodies pinked by the sun show rounded shapes in the canons of the time. They are defined by black outlines that make them pop out of the canvas for a stark contrast with the natural surroundings. They occupy almost the entire surface of the canvas. The title of the work, Baigneuses (Bathers), is therefore unequivocal. The sheet on which these young women lie is white like the bodies and reflects the same shadows. It is also defined by dark circles which make it, with the young women, the whole foreign to the natural environment in which it is located. At the bottom of the composition, the grass on which this set rests is represented by expected colors. To complete this will of the painter, on the right, the hat carelessly placed on the grass, completes the known and conventional world of 1914. Like a kind of border, limit. These are the only reminders to the society of the time. The elongated body of the young woman at the bottom occupies the entire width of the composition. It marks the stability on which this homogeneous whole rests. Two trees on either side of this group provide protection. It brings out positive feelings such as gentleness, confidence, serenity and abandonment.

The middle plane is represented by water of a deep blue, powerful, of impenetrable purity. A demarcation with the background plane.

With the focus on the young women in the foreground, the background plane is depicted in a blurred form similar to a photographic process. The unknown. The danger ? But also the dream. Only the colors give indications of its nature. And what colors! Gorgeous greens and blue! For a magical and mysterious effect.

This poetic and powerful painting offers a synthesis of the movements of the modern period which precedes it. It announces the neo-realist wave of the post-war period.

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