Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Drawing - Femme nue de face, bras levés

Femme nue de face, bras levés

  • Object:

    Drawing

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    1944 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Brassaï Guyula Hálasz, born 1899 - died 1984 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen, ink and wash on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Bequest of Gilberte Boyer Brassaï

  • Museum number:

    E.688-2014

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case PD318, shelf a

Though best remembered as one of the key figures in the history of photography, Brassaï was also a keen draughtsman. While a student in Berlin, he developed an angular style that was to characterize his drawings. In 1945 Brassaï staged his first exhibition of drawings in Paris and a year later published Trente dessins (Thirty Drawings). This drawing dates from that period in Brassai’s career. Drawing from life, specifically nudes has been a fundamental aspect of artistic training since the middle ages. In the twentieth century, artists including Brassaï exaggerated or even distorted the proportions of a model to emphasize the gesture or perceived mood of the pose.

Physical description

Pen, ink and wash drawing on paper

Place of Origin

Paris (made)

Date

1944 (drawn)

Artist/maker

Brassaï Guyula Hálasz, born 1899 - died 1984 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Pen, ink and wash on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Paris le 5 Sept 944

Dimensions

Height: 32 cm, Width: 21 cm

Object history note

One of ten drawings bequeathed by Madame Gilberte Boyer Brassai, widow of the artist, 2014

Historical context note

Though better remembered as one of the key figures in the history of photography, Brassaï was also a keen draughtsman. While studying at the Akademische Hochschule in Berlin he produced a series of nude figure studies, executed in an angular style that was to characterize his drawing practice.

After moving to Paris, Brassai took up photography, which quickly became his primary artistic outlet. His photographs of risqué Paris night life memorably captured the erotic and dangerous atmosphere of the city during the 1930s. His first book, Paris By Night (1933) was a sensation, leading to him being dubbed ‘The Eye of Paris’ by his friend the American writer Henry Miller.

In 1944, Brassaï briefly returned to drawing, His first exhibition of drawings was staged at the Renou et Colle gallery in Paris in 1945. This was followed by the publication of Trente dessins (Paris, 1946), with accompanying poems by Jacques Prévert. This drawing and the 9 other given to the V&A as part of a bequest by the artist’s widow, date from this period in Brassai’s career. The drawings are all nude figure studies and provide a juxtaposition with Brassai’s work as a photographer.

Drawing from life, specifically nudes has been a fundamental aspect of artistic training since at least the middle ages. The manuscript of Villard de Honnecourt (c1200-1250) confirms that drawing from the life was an established practice in the thirteenth century, while the use of nude models in the medieval artist's workshop is implied in the writings of 14th century Italian artist Cennino Cennini (1360-1427). In 1582, the Carracci opened one of the first academies of art, the Accademia degli Incamminati in Bologna, and there set the pattern for later art schools by making life drawing the central discipline. The course of training began with the copying of engravings, then proceeded to drawing from plaster casts, after which the students were trained in drawing from the live model. Mastery of drawing, particularly from life, was quickly considered a prerequisite to painting.

Modern and contemporary artists may choose to exaggerate or even distort the proportions of a figure in order to emphasize the gestures of the models' pose. As in the case of Brassai, the outcomes can be regarded as finished artworks, expressing both the subject and the artist’s observational, emotional and mark making response to the model.

Descriptive line

Drawing, 'Femme nue de face, bras levés', by Brassaï, 1944

Materials

Pen; Ink; Wash; Paper

Techniques

Drawing

Categories

Drawings

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.