André Derain met the young art dealer Paul Guillaume through the poet Max Jacob (1876-1944) at the advice of another poet and art critic, Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918). Starting in 1916, Paul Guillaume dedicated a personal exhibition to Derain in his gallery on Rue de Miromesnil. He appealed to five poets to write the texts of the catalogue: Apollinaire himself, Blaise Cendrars (1887-1961), Max Jacob of course, Pierre Reverdy (1889-1960) and Fernand Divoire (1883-1951).
Paul Guillaume's portrait was painted by numerous painters and he must have appreciated having his image painted by artists he was close to. Here he appears in three-quarter, very elegant, his gaze turned away from the viewer, with an impassive and detached air, painted in cool tones. His bust stands out against the blue background made up of horizontal brush strokes. His suit and bow tie are also blue, like his eyes; blue was actually his favourite colour. Paul Guillaume holds a nearly extinguished cigarette in his left hand, the only relaxed aspect of the painting, while he leans on an open book (an art book or catalogue?). The physical resemblance is not, however, very strong, as the model has misshapen facial features.
This portrait appeared with the date 1919 in a book by art dealer Kahnweiler in 1920.
Provenance: Paul Guillaume en 1919; Domenica Walter