Stunning portrait of a woman seated in an armchair. Her simple but elegant attire contrasts with the lively and colourful motifs of the Chinoiserie wall hanging behind her.
Henry Simon was a French painter (including gouache), draughtsman, potter and illustrator. He painted religious subjects, figures, portraits, genre scenes, landscapes, seascapes, still-lifes and flowers.
Born 28 December 1910, in St-Hilaire-de-Riez (Vendée), Henry Simon was a student at the École des Beaux-Arts in Nantes, where he was taught by Émile Simon. He then studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris since 1932, in the studio of Lucien Simon. He was called up to the army in 1939 and taken prisoner the following year. In 1976, he was appointed Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.
His first exhibits were realist portraits and well-constructed genre scenes. He visited Algeria in 1950, where the quality of the light was a revelation to him. He found a new freedom in the use of color and began to favor simpler shapes. From then on he favored warm, pure, vivid colors, which he applied in flat tints in a manner reminiscent of Matisse and Fauvism. During the 60s he increasingly focused on the effects of movement and light, working with dabs of vivid color, with less emphasis on the subject. Subsequently, he returned to a calmer and more precise style, with scenes of bathing, dancing, concerts, circuses or horse racing, which emanated joie de vivre. From 1937 onward, he received numerous public commissions in the Vendée region, in particular, for frescoes and paintings for town halls, schools, and churches.
His work featured in collective exhibitions in Paris, including: 1933, 1936, 1938, 1941, 1942, 1946 and 1961, Salon d'Automne; 1937, Exposition Internationale; 1943, 1946 and 1968, Salon des Peintres Témoins de leur Temps; 1977, Salon Comparaisons; 1949, Salon des Artistes Bretons at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nantes; 1982, Municipal Museum of La Roche-sur-Yon.
He regularly showed paintings in solo exhibitions in the Vendée; 1971, Musée Municipal des Sables-d'Olonne; 1978, Palais des Congrès, St-Jean-de-Monts. After his death, an exhibition was held in 1992 entitled Henry Simon 1910-1987. 60 Years of Painting., Conseil Général, Hôtel du Département, La Roche-sur-Yon.
Henry Simon died 27 February 1987.
Sources: Benezit; Henry Simon Retrospective, exhibition catalog, Municipal Museum, Les Sables d'Olonne, 1971; Henry Simon 1910-1987 60 ans de peinture, exhibition catalog, Conseil Général de la Vendée-Hôtel du département, La Roche-sur-Yon, 1992; Henry Simon, exhibition catalog, St-Hilaire-de-Riez, 2000; Henry SIMON (1910-1987) - Sa vie, son Œuvre - 60 ans de peinture - Peintre français du XXe siècle, L’association des amis d’Henry Simon, 2014.
Artist: Henry Simon (1910-1987).
Signed in the lower right corner.
Medium: Oil on canvas.
Condition: Very good condition.
Dimensions: 65 x 54 cm. / 25 ½ x 21 ¼ in.
Frame: 82 x 67 cm. / 32 ¼ x 26 ½ in. Gilt wood and stucco, with some signs of wear, good general condition.