CARYATIDES

by Christian Bérard (1902-1949)
France, 1938


36" high; 21 5/8" wide
Framed: 42" high; 28 1/4" wide

Oil on canvas
Signed Berard and dated 38 and inscribed to Francis.
Framed in carved gold leaf frame.

Christian Bérard was an immensely talented artist across a variety of different fields. Bérard and his lover, Boris Kochno, who directed the Ballet Russes and was also co-founder of the Ballet des Champs-Élysées, were one of the most prominent openly gay couples in France in the 1930's and 40's. They were the darlings of French society and circulated in the world of ballet, theatre, opera, art, couture, film and interior design. Bérard had an early interest in theatrical scenery and costume design and played an important role in their development during this period. The charm of color and the luxurious wit were the hallmark of his work in the theatre. In the early 1930's Bérard worked with Jean-Michel Frank painting screens, woodwork and drawing designs for carpets. He also worked as a fashion illustrator for Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli and Nina Ricci. Bérard was particularly praised for the magical designs he created for Jean Cocteau's 1946 film, La Belle et la Bete. Bérard's paintings confounded the critics because his work was unclassifiable. It existed outside the current theories of art, but was sometimes classified as neo-romantic along with Eugene Berman and Pavel Tchelitchew. His paintings, mostly portraits and self portraits, were painted with insight and great skill and exhibit deeply felt humanism. His early work was collected by Gertrude Stein, and he did protraits of his friends Coco Chanel, Jean Cocteau, Cecil Beaton and Horst P. Horst.
Francis Rose was an English portrait painter (1909-1979) who also decorated theatrical sets for the ballet like Christian Berard.

Provenance:
Collection of Francis Rose, London

Exhibited:
Musée d'Art Moderne, Troyes, 26 November - 12 January 2002.

Literature:
Boris Kochno, "Christian Berard", Thames and Hudson Ltd., London, 1988, p. 127 illustration no.78a in Catalogue Raisonne.

$95,000 - Inv. #153