Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Marie Laurencin: Cubist Groupie to Dolce Far Niente

Marie Laurencin (1883-1956) hung out with Picasso and Georges Braque, was muse and mistress to Apollinaire, and early in her career was considered by some a serious modernist artist. Biographical snippets are here and here.

Her early modernist work doesn't seem to have progressed far into Cubism, and by the 1920s she mostly painted "sweet nothings" (as the title of this post indicates) in the form of dark-eyed girls in flat, pastel tones. I suppose Laurencin has her place in the Modernist Art-Historical Timeline, but from what I present below, her pedestal is a short one.


Self-Portrait - c. 1905

Group of Artists - 1908
This painting has other titles, but its subjects are (left to right): Picasso, Laurencin, Apollinaire and Fernande Olivier (Picasso's mistress at the time).

Les jeunes filles - 1910-11
The main hint of Cubism here is in the lines and shadings; the subjects' forms have not been exploded and rearranged.

Self-portrait - 1912
Another merest whiff of Cubism.

Le bal élégante, ou la danse à la campagne - 1913
Laurencin is said to have had affairs with women.

girl - 1926
This and the three paintings below fall into what I call her dolce far niente period.

Le baiser - 1927


girl - 1936

Jidelina - 1946
A post-war portrait. Not as flatly painted as those shown above, but an unexceptional, derivative work, typical of the times.

Doctor Le Masle - 1949
She sometimes depicted men. This is a late painting.

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