Our cover this month, “Le Promenoir” (18.1 in. by 15 in.) by Jean Gabriel Domergue, sold for $21,250 at Fine Art Auctions Miami’s recent Important Paintings and Sculptures sale on April 27, 2013. Domergue was a precocious painter from Bordeaux who first had his work exhibited at the Salon Des Artistes Français at the tender age of 17. He initially won acclaim for his depictions of landscapes, though his career would become defined by a later significant shift in subject matter.
In the 1920s, Domergue became fascinated with painting portraits of women. He developed a very particular style, depicting his subjects as thin, airy and elegant, with swanlike necks and wide, seductive eyes. His paintings were immensely popular, and he became famous as the unofficial painter of “the Parisian lady.” He claimed to be the creator of the pin-up, and though the veracity of this boast is questionable, the similarities between his “Parisian ladies” and Esquire’s “Vargas Girls,” the images that popularized the pin-up in the 1930s, are undeniable.