This portrait of Madame Paul Guillaume, who would later become Madame Jean Walter, is without doubt a true likeness. Domenica appears as a woman of the world, wearing an elegant hat and an elegantly draped stole. Her carefully made-up face looks severe, and her eyes, whose pupils Derain emphasised with a touch of white, seem to look directly at the viewer. The painter succeeded in seeing right into the mind of this woman, who, after the death of Paul Guillaume, revealed herself to be greedy and unscrupulous, manipulating husband and lovers, prepared to do anything to retain her status and her fortune. Derain’s portrait has become symbol of the "diabolical" Domenica.
In the background, a red curtain evokes a richly furnished interior. On the right, we can make out a faint sketch of Pierrot et Arlequin, the great painting that Paul Guillaume had commissioned from Derain. But is it really the great painting itself or one of the two sketches that the couple also hung in their apartments? Whatever the case, this was a way for Derain to highlight the special relationship he had with the dealer.
The portrait of Domenica had pride of place in Paul Guillaume’s room, in the Avenue du Bois, which became the Avenue Foch in 1929 (Paris).
Provenance: Paul Guillaume en 1929; Domenica Walter