Henri Royer (Nancy 1869 - Neuilly-sur-Seine 1938)

A Sheet of Studies of Women Sold

Black and red chalk, with touches of white heightening, on paper laid down on a thin board.
Signed Henri Royer. at the lower right centre.
476 x 629 mm. (18 3/4 x 24 3/4 in.)

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At the time of an exhibition of Henri Royer’s work at the Galerie Jean Charpentier in Paris in 1928, the critic Roger Dardenne noted that, ‘It is perhaps with the female portrait, however, that M. Henri Royer shows the fullest measure of his mastery. The delicacy of temperament, a natural elegance, combined with a great confidence in his profession, allow him to render, with a truth full of charm, the faces of women and young girls.'

This sheet of studies, drawn in red and black chalk, may be regarded as preparatory for the sort of finished portrait drawing in coloured chalks exemplified by the pastel portrait of a woman reproduced as a full-page illustration in colour in the Christmas 1923 issue of the magazine L’Illustration. In comments which may equally be said to be relevant to the present sheet, the text accompanying the portrait drawing in L’Illustration noted that ‘This is one of the pastels in which Henri Royer excels, to whom we owe, in addition to his fine work as a painter, some admirabe drawings in coloured chalks. A portrait of a young woman, treated with astonishing descriptive confidence, light fabrics, intangible, veiling and revealing the body, the face lit by a smile...A work of expressive grace and luminous harmony.’

Henri ROYER

A Sheet of Studies of Women

523

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