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Albert Besnard

(1849–1934, Paris)

Pair of Slippers. Watercolour. 12.7 x 24.5 cm. Water­mark: Whatman 1881.

This delightful study of a pair of worn slippers dates to Besnard’s early period. Active in Paris after 1881, he made a name for himself with his sensitively observed portraits, character studies, landscapes and open-air impressions, which fully complied with the stylistic principles of naturalist painting in France. This explains the interest demonstrated here in very modest everyday subjects. The old slippers have been accurately rendered with a few strokes of the brush. The subtly graded colouration, which is reduced to a few brown, grey and green tones, contrasts starkly with the mottled greyish-white background. The little study probably arose in connection with the scenery painting La Maladie completed in 1884 in the École nationale supérieure de Pharmacie in Paris, in which the artist’s mother has similar footwear.

The watercolour will be incorporated in the catalogue of works by Besnard which is currently being compiled by Chantal Beauvarlot. An expertise dated 10 February 2018 is included.

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