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Portrait of Rita Van Leer

Moïse Kisling1927

The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama

The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama

After studying at the art school in Krak_w, from 1910, Kisling lived in Paris. In 1924, he became naturalized as a French citizen. Being of Jewish origin, he sought asylum in the United States during the Second World War and returned to France in 1946. He was a leading artist among the _cole de Paris and was good at portraits and still lifes.

If Kisling’s works were to be categorized largely, he produced numerous portraits, still lifes, landscapes, and pictures of female nudes and flowers. One third of his entire oeuvre are portraits, showing that he had an exceptional passion for this category. Here, black is employed effectively and the sharp contrast of light and dark yields a vivid impression. Against a dark background, the white skin surfaces with a porcelain-like shine. This is further complimented by the black hair and clothes. Though the woman has large eyes and distinct features, her expression is rather stiff and gloomy. Even so, the overall impression is not so oppressive thanks to the enamel-like shiny surface texture of the painting, the lucid and rhythmical forms, and the bright colors. The model is said to be the wife of a Dutch art dealer.

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