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André DERAIN | Le Cavalier au cheval blanc [Knight on a white horse]
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André DERAIN
France 1880 – 1954
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Le Cavalier au cheval blanc
[Knight on a white horse]
c.1905
oil on canvas
45.9 (h) x 37.9 (w) cm
frame 64.0 (h) x 57.0 (w) cm
not signed, not dated
Purchased 1985
NGA 1985.459
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Provenance
  • with the artist at his death in 1954;

  • with Galerie Motte, Geneva;

  • Marcelle Meyer, Brussels;

  • with Arnold Herstand & Co., New York, in 1985;

  • bought through Lynn G. Epsteen, New York, by the Australian National Gallery, March 1985
Biography

André Derain was born on 17 June 1880, at Chatou, France, then a small town on the Seine just outside Paris. He began painting around 1895 with the encouragement of Father Jacomin, a friend of Paul Cézanne's. In 1898 he began studying at the Académie Camillo under Eugène Carrière, and there, probably in 1899, he met Henri Matisse. The following year he met Maurice Vlaminck. In September 1901 Deraine was conscripted into the army for three years. After his demobilisation in 1904 Matisse persuaded Derain's parents to allow him to pursue a career as a painter, after which he periodically attended classes at the Académie Julian. In February 1905 the dealer Ambroise Vollard, who had been introduced to Derain by Matisse, bought the entire contents of his studio and placed Derain on contract. In the summer of 1905 Derain and Matisse painted side by side in the Mediterranean fishing village of Collioure. their works, together with those of Vlaminck and others, caused consternation when exhibited at the Salon d'Automne in 1905, earning them the label 'Fauves' (wild beasts). Derain made two trips to London, at the end of 1905 and early in 1906, and painted a series of views of the Thames. In 1907, in addition to his painting, he produced sculptures in stone, and in 1909 he executed the woodcut illustrations for Guillaume Apollinaire's book L'Enchanteur pourrissant (The decaying enchanter). Derain held his first solo exhibition at the Paul Guillaume Gallery, Paris, in 1916. In 1919 he designed the sets and costumes for Les Ballets Russes de Sergei Diaghilev's La Boutique Fantastique (The fantastic boutique), first presented at the Alhambre, London, on 5 June. During the 1920s Derain exhibited widely throughout Europe and in 1928 was awarded the Carnegie Prize for painting. This was the period of his greatest popular success. Four monographs were published on the artist during the 1920s and his work was championed by a number of influential critics, including André Salmon. In 1930 the artist's first solo museum exhibition was held at the Cincinnati Art Museum in the United States. In 1937 he was given a retrospective at the Salon des Indépendants, Paris. In addition to many exhibitions of his paintings in Europe and the United States during the 1930s and 1940s, Derain was in great demand as a theatre designer and as a book illustrator. He died on 8 September 1954 after being struck by a car near his home at Chambourcy.

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