Jean-Pierre Cassigneul, one of France's most popular and well-known living artists, brings together vibrant color and sleek sophistication in this monumental oil on canvas. Cassigneul has long been celebrated for his ultra-chic portraits of the sophisticated Parisian woman at leisure, and this enigmatic composition entitled Soirée is exemplary of his bold and theatrical style. With her heavy-lidded eyes and a seductive gaze, his mysterious subject is at once classically elegant and thoroughly modern as she lounges within a sumptuous interior. Painted in 1973 in the midst of Cassigneul's rising popularity, Soirée combines some of the most prevailing motifs of his oeuvre: the female figure, lush foliage, a vibrant palette, and an aura of luxury.
The combination of rich color and the female form in Cassigneul's work points directly to the significant influence of Kees van Dongen over the artist. Elegant socialites with elongated, sharply contoured features pervade van Dongen's canvases, and Soirée pays homage to the distinctive style the legendary Fauvist developed to capture his sensuous sitters. Suffused with bold, complementary color, Soirée evokes a luxurious atmosphere removed from any specific place or time. His sprawling subject is nearly engulfed by the large potted plants that overwhelm the foreground, while the brilliant interplay of blues and purples and greens fuse the female form into her surroundings. Vivid, expressive pops of color dominate the piece, and all are applied with a candid energy that places the work distinctly within the Fauvist realm.
Born in Paris in 1935, Cassigneul held his first one-man exhibition at the young age of 17 and later entered the Academie Charpentier, only to leave after one year to study at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. By 1959, he was appointed a member of the Salon d'Automne, and ever since his work has been widely exhibited throughout the world, particularly in Western Europe, the United States, and Japan, where he enjoys an especially devoted following.
Canvas: 63 3/4” high x 51 1/2” wide
Frame: 72 1/4" high x 59 3/4" wide
Signature: Signed “Cassigneul” (lower center) Signed and dated "Cassigneul 73 'Au Salon'" (en verso)
Cassigneul, Beautiful Flowers and Brilliant Women, February - July 2009, Museum Eki and Morioka, Civic Cultural Hall, Kyoto, no. 15
This work is pictured on page 226 of Cassigneul, Peintures, 1950-1990, 1991, by R. Bouillot.