Ker-Xavier Roussel

Ker-Xavier Roussel
A Female Nude under a Tree (Mythological Subject?)
19th century
Black chalk with touches of brown chalk on paper; verso rubbed with red chalk.
6 7/16 x 8 1/8 inches (164 x 207 mm)
The Joseph F. McCrindle Collection.
© Ker-Xavier Roussel / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Inscribed at graphite at lower right, "K.X.R.".

Joseph F. McCrindle, New York (McCrindle collection no. A1415).

Ker-Xavier Roussel was a central figure in the Nabis, a group of predominantly French artists who formed a secret brotherhood in Paris in 1888-9. Their work was indebted to Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) and can be characterized by flat planes of color, often outlined in dark contours. After 1893, however, Roussel moved away from such bold, colorful compositions to small-format paintings and drawings in chalk and graphite. This black chalk drawing might be a mythological subject, with a female nude standing beneath the canopy of a large tree and perhaps a centaur or animal at the left of the tree trunk. Roussel frequently executed mythological subjects staged in rustic landscapes such as this one.

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