Bernard BOUTET DE MONVEL (Paris 1884 - Azores 1949)

A Dancing Couple Sold

Pen and black ink, over an underdrawing in pencil, on papier calque.
Signed with the artist’s monogram BMB in black ink over pencil at the lower left.
Numbered 16 in pencil at the upper left, and inscribed with measurements in pencil at the left edge.
137 x 259 mm. (5 3/8 x 10 1/8 in.)


The present sheet is a study, in reverse, for an illustration in the article ‘de quelques attributs masculins’, written by the artist’s brother Roger Boutet de Monvel and published in the Gazette du Bon Ton in November 1920. The article charts the evolution of men’s fashions, with particular emphasis on beards and moustaches. This illustration appears near the end of the piece; the dancing man (named Paul, or ‘Paupaul’), with a small moustache, is described as wearing the fashionable attire of 1872, including flared trousers (‘pantalons en pattes d’éléphant’), a large cravatte-plastron and, perched on his head, a miniscule boater (‘canotier’).

Founded by Lucien Vogel in 1911 and first published in 1912, the Gazette du Bon Ton was an monthly illustrated magazine devoted to fashion, elegance and art. Publication was suspended in August 1914, with the outbreak of war, and resumed in January 1920. Boutet de Monvel had a long association with the magazine, for which he provided numeorus vignettes and illustrations. (Among the other artists involved in producing illustrations for the Gazette du Bon Ton were Georges Lepape, Pierre Brissaud, André-Edouard Marty, Charles Martin and George Barbier.) As has been noted of his illustrations for the magazine, ‘Boutet de Monvel’s work...was striking for the pared back and rectilinear qualities that were so characteristic of the sleekness of his style. In place of sinuous curves, elaborate volutes and glistening golds, he preferred the pure, controlled lines of a pale outline...This productive economy of means led him to also make color subordinate to line.’

Among the contents of the artist’s studio in Paris at the time of his death
By descent in the Boutet de Monvel family.


A Dancing Couple


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