Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 70 x 64.5 cm
Signed: Lower right: BERNARD / B DE MONVEL
Estate of the artist, thence by descent; Sotheby’s Paris, Collection Boutet de Monvel, 5-6 April 2016.
The sale of the Boutet de Monvel estate by Sotheby’s was an extraordinary event; it is rare that such an extensive representation of the works of any artist comes up for sale and even more so when the artist as interesting and important as Bernard Boutet de Monvel. As the most important of the art deco painters there has been interest in Boutet de Monvel’s chic and sophisticated portraits of the leaders of transatlantic society for some years – but relatively few have come on the market. It was interesting to observe that while the splendid self-portrait with the Place de Vendôme behind sold for more than €1.7 million and the portrait of the Maharajah of Indore for €2.5 million, with over 400 lots in the sale it was a great opportunity for collectors and admirers of the artist.
Our painting shows Bernard’s daughter Sylvie, the subject of several of his most charming and intimate paintings since she was born, as a young woman sitting up in her elegant Paris bedroom and holding her dog, Champagne. He painted two different versions of this composition – the other, similar composition was painted at the family house in Nemours and is largely differentiated by the style of the bed. The artist made several preparatory drawings as was his custom including studies of both beds and both a drawing of Champagne and a tracing, probably used in the production of the second painting. The elegant vase on Sylvie’s bed-side table was the subject of a careful drawing and was also painted as a still life at least twice, each time with different flowers to those that may be seen in this work.