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Still Life with a Glass of Wine

Nature morte au verre de vin

This small, very simple still life, a plate of fruit, a piece of bread and a glass of wine, is typical of Derain’s experiments on rendering form during the 1920s. According to him: "colour and line, when used together, cancel each other out and reveal nothing". This is why he sometimes plays with contrasts in values and colours, as with the bread and the pears; sometimes with line, by outlining objects with black and white as on the glass of wine and the grapes.
The composition is based on chiaroscuro, on the strong contrasts of values, particularly between the pears and the grapes in the dish of fruit. Derain reinforces this effect further by contrasting warm colours with cool colours: the vibrant orange ochre of the table, the luminous creamy yellow of the bread and the fruit contrast with the purplish black of the grapes and wine. The left hand side, the brightly lit part of the dish of fruit, is strongly defined, accentuated with black and white lines, whereas on the right, in the shade, the shapes are indeterminate and the outlines blurred. The painter also brings into play the large shadows cast by the bread and the glass of wine.

Provenance: Paul Guillaume en 1929; Domenica Walter