Jean Fautrier - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Friday, March 8, 2024 | Phillips

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  • “The hermetic nature of Fautrier’s paintings betrays nothing of its complex nature, except perhaps in an allusive way that is unclear and disturbing…Perceptible and magical, but undecipherable signs and hieroglyphs, patches of red and damp mosses that are gold or violet are placed on the shores of a thought so distant and stripped of any sensorial accident that they fray the edge of our sense, insidiously disturbing them.”
    —Edith Boissonnas

    On the cusp of fading into non-existence, rendered in feathery, evanescent strokes, Nu debout demonstrates Jean Fautrier’s command of light. Depicted frontally, Fautrier softly illuminates the model’s chest and red lips through naturalistic tones, providing a tangible impression of the greenery in the background before succumbing to the monochromatic, gloomy atmosphere. Though the title indicates the female figure is standing, her closed eyes and sultry expression impress a state of solace rather than activity, situated between dream and consciousness. 

    Conceived early in his career, Nu debout belongs to a series of figures Fautrier produced towards the close of the 1920s and is among the few figurative paintings conceived by the artist before the emergence of his more abstract style. Regarding his earlier period, Walter Sickert is one of the only major influences openly cited by Fautrier. Having been taught by Sickert during his studies at the RA before the First World War, Fautrier cited Sickert’s preoccupation with dramatic scenes and nudes as crucial to the elaboration of his aesthetic style.

    • Provenance

      Galerie Michel Coutrier, Paris
      Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Cologne, Galerie Thomas Borgmann; Munich, Galerie Fred Jahn, Jean Fautrier. Bilder 1925-1928, 29 September - 21 December 1979, no. 6, n.p. (illustrated)
      Cologne, Josef-Haubrich Kunsthalle, Jean Fautrier Gemälde, Skulpturen und Handzeichnungen, 23 February - 7 April 1980, no. 33, p. 97 (illustrated and dated 1927)

    • Literature

      Marcel André Stalter, Recherche sur l'œuvre de Jean Fautrier de son commencement à 1940. Essai de catalogue méthodique et d'interprétation, Paris, 1982, no. 241
      Marie-José Lefort, Fautrier: catalogue raisonné de l’œuvre peint, Paris, 2023, no. 372, p. 249 (illustrated)


Nu debout

signed 'Jean Fautrier' lower left
oil on canvas
92 x 60 cm (36 1/4 x 23 5/8 in.)
Painted in 1928.

Full Cataloguing

£40,000 - 60,000 ‡♠

Sold for £53,340

Contact Specialist

Simon Tovey
Specialist, Associate Director, Head of Day Sale
+44 7502 428 688


20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 8 March 2024