The unframed late nineteenth century French school oil on canvas depicting a full-length nude female with her dark hair pulled up, depicted in profile, her left arm held aloft to her head and facing away from the viewer, signed top right ‘B.Barnet 1893’ and on an inky sea green ground surviving from France in untouched condition.
In entirely original condition the canvas does have some losses with a puncture mid-lower right and a smaller one top right with staining and small areas of flaking throughout. The picture has not been cleaned or restored in any way and as such is hugely decorative. The current stretcher on which the painting is mounted is probably original with no evidence that the painting was removed from its stretcher. The cut edges are frayed at the edges of the tacking margins.
Verso the canvas is reassuringly stamped for the French artists’ supplier Vve M. Chabod et Cie who was a dealer of canvas support and colours in Paris between 1860 and 1905. The stamp has the following inscription ‘Vve M. CHABOD & Cie / Mds de COULEURS / EXTRA FINES / TOILES à TABLEAUX / RUE JACOB 20’. As the stamp is of an artists’ supplier it can be concluded that the canvas was manufactured industrially and probably the canvas was supplied stretched. We cannot find any information on the artist but further research may prove fruitful.
The year of 1893 in France saw the massacre of Italian workers of the Compagnie des Salins du Midi in Aigues-Mortes by French villagers and workers with anti-French riots erupting in Italy. The year also saw the Ivory Coast becoming a French colony and the first car number plates in Paris.
The picture has a beautifully serene and masterfully dreamy appeal to it, the fact we cannot see the sitters face is intriguing and her stance is brilliantly captured by the artist, whose grasp of light and shadow is superb. The moody ground is hugely atmospheric, vaulting from seeweed to midnight greens, almost akin to the might deep of the oceans.
A spellbinding artwork of a natural beauty that bears an aura that proves too difficult to articulate.