'Portrait of Woman in Pearl Necklace' by Charles Camoin (circa 1920s)
'Portrait of Woman in Pearl Necklace', pastel on fine art paper (see information below), by Charles Camoin (circa 1920s) dedicated to Marie-Louise Tavernier. Regrettably, research on the presumed subject of this artwork has not been fruitful. Her identity and relation to Charles Camoin remain a mystery. A sympathetic portrait it is though, her bright, light brown eyes and keen, pleasant expression are inviting the viewer to know her better. In the 1920s, a woman deciding to cut her hair was serious business. Simply put, long hair was considered feminine and short hair was not. American actress Mary Pickford, who did not bob her hair because of the pressure she felt from her family and her fans, said, “I could give a lengthy and, I think, convincing discourse about long hair making a woman more feminine, but there is some doubt in my mind as to whether it does or not." This thinking suggests that Ms. Tavernier in this portrait felt liberated enough to adopt the 'bob' style cut and therefore also says something about her personality and strength. In its characterful antique frame (with new backing and museum non-reflective glass), this portrait is by an artist of tremendous importance (a close associate of Cézanne) whose works are held in very high esteem and whose prices at auction reflect this regard. Camoin has many works on record having sold for hundreds or tens of thousands of US dollars. This work is in very good vintage condition and it is signed in the lower right hand corner with dedication. The vintage frame has been retained for historical reasons and has nicks, chips, characterful scrapes and blemishes. The back has been completely replaced however, as has the glazing as mentioned above.
Dimensions with frame:
H 54 cm / 21.3"
W 46 cm / 18.1"
Dimensions without frame:
H 31.5 cm / 12.4"
W 23 cm / 9.1"
About the Art Paper: The paper upon which this artwork was created is itself an interesting story and part of history. This is mentioned because the mark of the paper is quite evident on the left side of the artwork. In 1783, Louis XVI ennobled Pierre Montgolfier and his family, both on account of the invention of the hot air balloon and on that of the strides that they have spurred in the paper-making industry. In 1784, the paper mills were granted the name "Manufacture Royale". In the late 1800s, they became a Limited company with the name: Anciennes Manufactures Canson & Montgolfier (which you will find printed on this paper).
About the Artist: Charles Camoin (1879 - 1965), under the tutelage of Gustave Moreau he worked in a variety of genres, including landscape, portraiture, still life, the nude, and seascapes, and was considered a practitioner of both the Post-Impressionist and the Fauvist styles. He started his career painting street scenes and images of the cabarets. It was through Gustave Moreau’s studio, however, that he was later introduced to Matisse, amongst others, with whom he maintained close correspondence. It was this group of artists that was to be at the forefront of Fauvism, and it was Camoin’s associations with them that prompted his own introduction to the style. In 1900, Camoin began military service that brought him to Arles, where he painted in the style of Van Gogh, and later to Aix in 1902, where he frequently saw Cézanne and adopted many of his stylistic techniques. It was also Cezanne that introduced Camoin to Monet at his home in Giverny.
With a strong network of artists surrounding him, and a quickly blossoming future, Camoin exhibited for the first time at the Salon des Artistes Independants in 1903, and by 1904 had his first solo exhibition in Paris at the Galerie Berthe Weill. In 1905 Camoin took part in the “cage aux fauves” at the Salon d’Automne, exhibiting alongside artists such as Matisse and Derian. The following ten years consisted of a number of excursions to London, Frankfurt, Italy, Naples, Capri, Tangiers, and to Morocco with Matisse. Camoin exhibited regularly at the Salons and at galleries, and was honoured with three retrospective exhibitions in both France and the United States. The year 1913 marked his participation in the historic Armory Show in New York City. In the 1950s he was received at the Biennale, was made an officer of the Legion d’Honneur, and was named Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.
Maintaining two studios, one in Montmartre, and one in St. Tropez, Camoin devoted the former to painting still life, nudes, and portraits, and employed the latter for painting views of the harbour, walkways, and landscapes he could see out his studio window. As a young artist his oeuvre was characterised by generosity of paint, and lively colours, all denoting the provincial tradition. After his trips with Marquet and Matisse however, Camoin’s work evolved, favouring a subordination of colour to light. As an artist he never fully adhered to the style of Fauvism or Post-impressionism, but rather seemed to have balanced between the two, often relying on their theories rather than their mandates of technique.
After his death in 1965, in Paris, Camoin was represented in a large Fauvist exhibition that traveled to Tokyo, Paris, Munich, and Malines. His work was also exhibited in several posthumous solo shows in his birth town of Marseille as well as in Nice. Museums which hold his works include: Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, Albi, France; Museum of the Annunciation in St. Tropez, France; Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe; National Museum of Modern Art, Paris; Museum of Fine Art, Grasse; National Gallery, Berlin; Museum of Modern Art, Bonn. Camoin's works at the major auction houses fetch very significant sums in recognition of the quality of his art and the company the kept in the world of art from that era.