Nature morte champêtre

André Derain
Nature morte champêtre
huile sur toile
H. 58 ; L. 117 cm avec cadre H. 84,5 ; L. 143,5 cm
© Adagp, Paris, 2024 © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée de l'Orangerie) / Hervé Lewandowski
André Derain (1880 - 1954)

This still life in landscape format, with rather large dimensions, looks like something that would decorate the space above a doorway. This traditional work in painting was not looked down upon by avant-garde painters. Here, we are probably dealing with a panel meant for the Parisian flat of the Norwegian painter and art dealer W. Halvorsen (1887-1972), who had settled in the square of Palais-Bourbon.
The motifs brought together in this still life make it a springtime allegory similar to those of the 18th century: the straw hat and the basket of flowers bring to mind the sun and gardening, while the wind instruments suggest the gaiety of music.
The motifs appear in succession from left to right on the canvas against a neutral background, dark or light in turn, in an almost musical way, like a series of notes. The flutes rest on a black or white background that links to an orange cloth and the yellow and red straw hat, finally the ochre basket punctuated with white flowers brings life to the composition. These objects hardly seem to be resting but rather floating in the air, which is affirmation of their modernity.