Marie Laurencin (text by Daniel Marchesseau, preface by Yoshio Abe)


I’d seen photos of paintings by Marie Laurencin’ (1883-1954) in a catalogue of French artists from the interwar years and I was taken by her portraits of women, mainly because her style retains something of the beauty and joy of the impressionists but attempts to do something a bit more abstract and expressionist.

So, I was happy to shell out a ¥1,000-note at the Japanese book emporium BookOff to get this 176-page retrospective of her works, spanning 1903 to 1946. I was even happier to learn that there had been a museum dedicated to her paintings set up by a collector in Nagano in the 1980s, but that closed and relocated to Tokyo, and that too has now apparently shut down (in January 2019, according to Google Maps.)

I think she hit the jackpot with a portrait of Coco Chanel, but of the 92 other paintings featured in the book, I liked these that I’ve included in this post. I wonder what has become of the 600 paintings and drawings that were in the Japanese collection?

Self-portrait 1904
Coco Chanel (1923)
La barque (1926)
Jeune fille (1940)

No. 13 of 100 books I intend to read and review in 2019.

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Patrick Sherriff publishes a monthly newsletter highlighting good fiction about Japan and featuring an original painting or sketch. He lives in Abiko, Japan, with his wife and two daughters.