This panel is from the series Camacho’s Wedding, painted by Sert for one of the gala dining rooms in the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.
A characteristic feature of Sert’s work and one that always attracts the viewer’s attention is the detail in which he painted textiles in his compositions, to the point where the different types of material can be recognised due to the realism and precision of their depiction. Sert was a member of a leading Catalan textile family, hence his knowledge of this subject. His preference for curtains, a pictorial motif that frequently appears in his work and is used for both a decorative effect and as a compositionally unifying device, may also relate to his own origins. These details would be extremely important from the outset of his career. In addition to enriching and adorning his scenes, Sert used draperies to emphasise the linear direction of the composition, as in the present case. The vertical stripes on the cloth as it falls down emphasise the painting’s frontality while also creating a sense of depth through the folds. The curtain, with its pattern of two-colour squares that is seen again in other panels in this series, suggests an architectural structure that is not actually present, helping to focus the viewer’s gaze and define the pictorial space in which the action takes place. The reference to the famous Vasarian window is almost inevitable given this use of curtains, although in the case of Sert it would be more appropriate to refer to a theatrical curtain, both due to the fall of the cloth and the arrangement of the figures and their gestures. Another possible point of reference is that of tapestry. On some occasions Sert painted his scenes on a trompe l’oeil textile hanging. In the present case the panel has become a fictitious piece of cloth that “contains” the action. This is ultimately a decorative device that the artist regularly used in various different forms.