Bernard BOUTET DE MONVEL (Paris 1884 - Azores 1949)

La peinture absolue: Two Men Looking at a Painting Sold

Pen and black ink, over an underdrawing in pencil, on papier calque. Signed with the artist’s monogram BMB in black ink at the lower right.
Numbered 543 and 3 in pencil at the top, and inscribed with measurements in black chalk at the left edge.
190 x 128 mm. (7 1/2 x 5 in.)


This drawing was also used to illustrate Henry Bidou’s story ‘La peinture absolue’ in the March 1920 issue of the Gazette du Bon Ton. At the Metzinger exhibition, the artist Luc meets an old man who describes the work as ‘la peinture absolue’ (‘absolute painting’). He points out to Luc that Metzinger is not painting the thing but the idea of the thing, and that one must not copy, but paint the essence of beings. Luc replies that he used to think this way in his youth, but then he became an Impressionist, and it is for this reason that his soul is not pure, unlike that of Metzinger. The old man leaves him, and Luc has ‘no doubt that an angel spoke through the old man’. He departs the gallery with his vision of the universe altered, viewing everything he sees on the street in terms of lines, angles and geometry, and becomes a Cubist.

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


La peinture absolue: Two Men Looking at a Painting


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