A Nude with Mauve Shirt by Charles Camoin Acquired by Grenoble

Charles Camoin (1879 – 1965)
Nude with Mauve Shirt, 1908
Oil on Canvas - 65.3 x 81 cm
Grenoble, Musée
Photo : Galerie Mendes

16/9/12 - Acquisition - Grenoble, Musée - The Musée de Grenoble recently acquired a painting by Charles Camoin, Nude with Mauve Shirt, from the Mendes Gallery in Paris, shown during the exhibition on nudity in November-December 2011.
The work was exhibited in 1908 at the Kahnweiler Gallery, then in 1909 at the Salon d’Automne with the title Reclining Woman. The artist painted a series of canvases representing the world of brothels which he explored alongside his friend Albert Marquet as of 1904-1905, sketching, in the graphic sense of the term, the harlots in the rue Bouterie in Marseille or the ones at the Bar des Roses in Saint-Tropez. The Entertainer from the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris is an outstanding example of this series. Both paintings show barely clad women, of little virtue in provocative poses ; their nudity, with no accompanying pretext such as a bath or a toilette, is all the more striking since it is only partial. However, whereas The Entertainer ignores the voyeur and is resting in an unflattering position, emphasized by the very low viewpoint chosen by the artist, the woman with the mauve shirt expresses a certain lasciviousness, an open invitation to lust : her black eyes appear to be half closed, the red lips are partly open, the shirt is riding up, the body abandoned to the eyes of the viewer bending over her. We find this de-personalization of the body in Marquet, underscored by the model’s closed eyes ; The Two Friends (1912), notably, display the same distracted indecency as The Entertainer while his sculptural Blonde Woman (1919) resembles an icon, far from the prosaic character of his other paintings.
Camoin’s canvas, alluding to both Courbet’s L’Origine du Monde and the world of Toulouse-Lautrec is of course also a reference to Olympia but with a new twist : while Manet teases and attracts the viewer’s eye to the woman’s sex thanks to the hand concealing it, Camoin in fact forces the spectator to look away by brutally exposing the woman’s most intimate charm.

Version française

Bénédicte Bonnet Saint-Georges, mardi 18 septembre 2012

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