This large size oil on canvas 145 x 145 cm passed at Drouot on June 25, 2018. It had been introduced in a video shared by Drouot Presse. It is now estimated € 1.5M for sale by Sotheby's in Paris on October 18, lot 18.
Augusta is wearing an outfit by Poiret which is obviously the theme of this intimate artwork. Before the Drouot sale, I narrated as follows the relationship between Kees van Dongen and Paul Poiret.
By removing the corset in 1906, Poiret forever modifies the look of the Parisian woman. This conception is transmitted in 1908 in a pretty booklet made up of ten color engravings by Paul Iribe. Poiret is inspired by the artistic avant-gardes. He thus appears as a leader of modernism just when the Ballets Russes put in fashion a luxurious imaginary exoticism.
Compared to other 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 Fatima that she wears as a pendant.
The intention to please Poiret is obvious. The title of the book in the hands of Augusta is Rabelais. 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.
SOLD for € 1.8M including premium