André DERAIN (1880 - 1954)

Costume Designs for a Musketeer and a Woman [recto]; Still Life with a Plate of Fish on a Table [verso] Sold

Pen and brown ink and brown wash on light brown paper.
The verso in pencil.
Numbered 672 and inscribed C=34/4 in pencil on the verso.
270 x 417 mm. (10 5/8 x 16 3/8 in.)


This drawing can be dated to the late 1940’s, and the recto can be related to Derain’s work for the stage. Derain had begun to design for the theatre in 1919, when he was commissioned by Serge Diaghilev to design the costumes, sets and stage curtains for the ballet La Boutique fantastique, which was first performed in London in June of that year. In the last decade of his career Derain designed sets for several opera and ballet productions, including the ballet Mam’zelle Angot, staged in London in 1947, and Mozart’s Il Seraglio and Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, performed in Aix-en-Provence in 1951 and 1952, respectively. In all, Derain created costumes and sets for thirteen ballets, two stage plays and two operas, while also providing designs for a number of unrealized projects. He worked for the Ballets Russes, the Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo, Georges Balanchine’s Les Ballets 1933 and the Sadler’s Wells Ballet, and collaborated with the choreographers Michel Fokine, Léonid Massine and Serge Lifar.

As one modern scholar has written of Derain, ‘He was a born man of the theatre, gifted with an ability of rendering his designs lyrical and comprehensible...Such works...contain no trace of the heaviness and seriousness sometimes found in many of his paintings. It is as if his need to transpose his sentiments into another medium acted as a liberating force, and his designs...spirited, witty, modern and utterly charming, accorded perfectly with the mood of the moment.’ Derain himself, writing in 1938, noted that ‘J’aime la vie et j’aime le théâtre parce que c’est la vie, une autre vie.’ A large number of costume and set designs by Derain are in the collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and the Bibliothèque Littéraire Jacques Doucet in Paris.

The still life composition on the verso is close to that of such paintings of the second half of the 1940’s as the Still Life with Fish and Pitcher in the Musée d’Art Moderne in Troyes.

The studio of the artist, with the atelier stamp (Lugt 668a) stamped at the lower right.


Costume Designs for a Musketeer and a Woman [recto]; Still Life with a Plate of Fish on a Table [verso]


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