Jean Metzinger Catalogue Raisonné
Number: AM-25-011 Jean Metzinger
Title: Danse carnavalesque (Fête galante, Les arlequins)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 89 x 130.2 cm
Inscriptions: Signed and dated – 1925 (lower right)
Provenance: Léonce Rosenberg, Galerie l’Effort Moderne, Paris.
Jan Mitchell, New York.
The University of Southern California (gift from the above)
Sotheby Parke Bernet, Los Angeles, 3 May 1982, lot 114.
Private collection (acquired at the above sale).
Christie’s, New York, 7 November 2002, lot 285
Literature: Bulletin de L’Effort Moderne, June 1925, No. 16, reproduced (titled Fête galante).
Joann Moser, Daniel Robbins, Jean Metzinger in Retrospect, The University of Iowa Museum of Art, 1985, no. 203, p. 112, reproduced.
Notes: Metzinger’s dancing figure appears to be one of the Zanni servant characters, the most well-known, from the Italian Commedia dell’arte, Harlequin or Arlecchino. Originally, Harlequin was a black-faced emissary of the devil who roamed the countryside with a band of demons chasing the damned souls of evil people to Hell. Traditionally, the physical appearance of Harlequin is consistent with Metzinger’s depiction of the individual just right of center (dressed in red and black attire).
Composition: The axis of symmetry is a vertical line practically cutting through the center of the canvas (just left of center). Even the trees in the background behind the two dancing figures appear to be mirror images. The rest on the composition is symmetric to a close approximation.
See the Metzinger monograph, Volume III for further elaboration.