Kees Van Dongen's wife Augusta dresses in Poiret's gowns. On June 25 in Paris Hôtel Drouot, Leclere sells as lot 19 a portrait of Augusta by Kees titled La Lecture - Rabelais, large size oil on canvas 145 x 145 cm painted in 1911.
Compared to the paintings made by Van Dongen around that date, La Lecture stands out for its themes and style. The fine line evokes the illustrations from Iribe's catalog. The atmosphere mixes Fauvism and exoticism. The striped areas are in Matisse's taste and a wall painting could have been a marine in Collioure. Orientalism is brought by the profile of the dark haired woman and by the hand of Fatma that she wears as a pendant.
The intention to please Poiret is obvious. Rabelais is the title of the book in the hands of Augusta. This reference may be an unidentified connivance with Poiret. The curled cat in the foreground makes a friendly wink.
The influence of fashion is helping to shift Van Dongen from anarchism and cabarets to the elegant society. 'Deauville' is published in 1931 with five engravings by Van Dongen and a text by Poiret.
Please watch the video shared by Drouot Presse. La Lecture is introduced by the auctioneer Damien Leclère.