(1886 Nancy – Paris 1962)
Hunter Lying in Wait
Mixed technique, gouache, highlights in gold powder on paper
580 x 760 mm
Signed j. majorelle and located marrakech
PROVENANCE: Private collection, France
By the means used to make it, its subject and the places to which it is connected, our large gouache painting, unseen on the art market for several decades and in perfect condition, is a fantastic summary of the work of Jacques Majorelle, heir to an art tradition from La Lorraine and passionately in love with the African continent.
The technique is typical of the artist’s work. Using a paint base “à la détrempe” where glue diluted in water is used as a binder for pigments, giving a matte finish and resulting in colors that are saturated without being jarring, it is characteristic of the post-war period, when Majorelle finally had access again to a broad palette. The gold powder that he also lacked during the conflict marvelously reproduces satiny African skin tones.
By situating the African hunting scene in the exuberant vegetation of his Moroccan villa, Majorelle gives evidence of his attachment to what was perhaps his dearest project: the modernist villa designed according to his directions by the architects Robert Poisson and Paul Sinoir in 1929, a synthesis of Art Deco and Moorish style. He would make it a living work of art, hanging certain of his paintings under the pergola and in 1937, painting its walls in an intense aquamarine blue that would come to be known by his name.
Saved from abandonment by the generous patronage of Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé who bought it in 1980, the setting and the atmosphere in which our work was created still remain today.
The patient concentration of the hunter waiting for game to show up is itself marvelously rendered by the artist, the colors of his clothing contrasting with his dark skin, highlighted in gold, and the large yucca creating a radiating and geometric effect that dynamizes the composition.