Joueuses de cartes

Jean Metzinger Catalogue Raisonné

Number: AM-47-005 Jean Metzinger

Date: 1947 (circa)

Title: Joueuses de cartes

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 116 x 81.3 cm

Inscriptions: Signed (lower left)

Provenance: Galerie Dutko, Paris.

Property from a Royal Collection (acquired from the above).

Sotheby’s, London, 29 July 2020, lot 355.

Notes: During the 1940s Jean Metzinger began a new series of works based on ‘a free, mobile perspective’, a concept first enunciated in his Note sur la peinture (1910). This seminal text describes the idea of moving around the subject in order to capture it from multiple points of view. The present work, Joueuses de cartes—where a card player’s face is simultaneously depicted frontally and in profile—represents more than just the ‘total image’ emerging from a succession of moments in time [la durée] and spatial displacements. It is a scene where ‘dynamism is made possible through a use of color’ and form of ‘real life as it is lived in the mind’. (Jean Metzinger, Note sur la peinture, in Pan: 60, Paris, no. 10, October–November 1910)
Joueuses de cartes is closely related to Metzinger’s 1924 painting La partie de cartes [AM-24-007] (Centraal Museum Utrecht). Metzinger periodically revised subjects he found of interest earlier in his career. While differing vastly in style and technique these paintings bear similarities; here in the position of the female figures, the landscape to the upper left, the green felted bridge-table, and the king of hearts present in both. Yet the subject matter—an illuminated evening scene of timeless beauty and elegance—took on a secondary role. Metzinger writes in 1940: It is the ‘magic of the colored forms that, as the words of a poem, develop their significance over [au delà] the object they represent.’ (Jean Metzinger, Cézanne et la Peinture, Sud-Est, 5th October 1940). (Alexander Mittelmann, for Sotheby’s, London, Catalogue Note, 29 July 2020)

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