The Painter's Niece, Seated

La nièce du peintre assise

Geneviève Géry, the painter's beloved niece, is once again depicted here at the age of around twelve. The young girl is seated, one hand rested on the opposite wrist, in a pensive pose. She is looking away from the viewer, and seems to be lost in a daydream. This demeanour brings to mind the female figures painted by Camille Corot (1796 – 1875), whom Derain admired greatly.
Geneviève is dressed in light-coloured fabrics brushed with bright touches of light that bring the painting to life. Derain also used two different techniques to reproduce the skin: Geneviève's closest arm to us is painted in long, smooth brushstrokes, while her other arm and her face are painted in small, sharp brushstrokes. The young girl is wearing a large round hat on her back that can also be seen in the other portrait of her conserved at the Musée de l'Orangerie. Her silhouette stands out clearly on the green background, with only her brown hair ensuring the colour transition. This barely sketched-in background is inspired by those painted by Jacques-Louis David (1748 – 1825).
The beauty and serenity that emanate from this portrait demonstrate once again Derain's great affection for Geneviève and his mastery of the psychological portrait.

Provenance: Paul Guillaume; Domenica Walter