European Art: 19th Century

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Portrait of a Woman (Marguerite Dufay?), 1891

Louis Anquetin

French, 1861-1932
Pastel on paper
24-3/4 x 20 in. (63 x 51 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

Not on view

During the final decade of the nineteenth century, caricature piqued the interest of Louis Anquetin and he began to explore the expressive possibilities inherent to this popular form of image making. This portrait is a superb example of Anquetin’s new pursuits; in it the artist has amplified the sitter’s breasts and shrunk her waist beyond any measure of realistic anatomical proportion. The result is a bawdy sexuality, an exaggeration often associated with the woman thought to be the sitter, the cabaret performer and trombone player Marguerite Dufay. Indeed, she bears a striking resemblance to Dufay, who was depicted by Anquetin for a poster a few years after this portrait was completed.

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