'The Circus Performer' by Maurice Le Nestour (circa 1970s)
Fine Art •
'The Circus Performer', gouache on art paper, by Maurice Le Nestour (circa 1970s). Like Degas, Le Nestour found a world that excited both his taste for classical beauty and his eye for modern realism. His technique of layered gouache provides visual interest and texture. Surrounded by elegant ballerinas throughout his career, he painted both established dancers and some of the city’s poorest young girls who struggled to become the fairies, nymphs and queens of the stage. In this case, a young 'Ecuyère', or horsewoman in the circus. These women "were professional horsewomen in an equestrian culture storied in masculinity. They came in two forms. One, another children’s-book silhouette recognisable from Toulouse-Lautrec, Seurat, and Picasso: the vaulter or acrobat who balanced on the broad barrel of a docile rosinback and leaped through flower hoops or wobbled in arabesques, as sinewy and feminine as a ballerina. The other, a dressage or “upper school” rider gingering up the classical moves of the courtly riding academies of early modern Europe by jumping over dinner tables and making her horse walk on its hind legs." (ref: Sussana Forrest, 2020).
Le Nestour's depictions erupt in vibrant colour yet retain a delicate and understated beauty of a world only a privileged few have access to. In good overall condition, the artwork is newly framed and glazed with anti-reflective glass. Unsigned. Provenance: Acquired in Paris from an art dealer specialising in these works. Upon request a video may be provided.
About the Artist: Maurice Le Nestour (1923-2014) was a decorator of the Paris Opera from 1946 to 1989. Renowned for his magnificent stage decor and scenery, he was held in high esteem by those in the creative fields and by the public who attended the Paris Opera. Le Nestour traveled with Nureyev to Istanbul and later with colleagues to Japan to work in 1978. In addition to his primary profession, Le Nestour painted his entire life. His oeuvre included depictions of Paris Opera dancers, costumes, theatre and scenes behind-the-curtain as well. Several years ago, his daughter released many of the documents and scenery models associated with his career to the Opera House archives.
Dimensions with frame:
H 44 cm / 17.3"
W 53.5 cm / 21.1"
Dimensions without frame:
H 30.5 cm / 12"
W 40.5 cm / 15.9"