Nu à la cruche

André Derain
Nu à la cruche
huile sur toile
H. 170 ; L. 131 cm avec cadre H. 190 ; L. 150,5 cm
© Adagp, Paris, 2024 © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée de l'Orangerie) / Hervé Lewandowski
André Derain (1880 - 1954)
Niveau -2, Salle 12

Here Derain presents a life-size female figure seated in a very mineral universe. He enjoyed painting nudes outdoors, combined with sand or rock, where forms link together in harmony. Here the background is made up of brown and green hills with slanting lines. They are softened only by the waters of the lake on the right echoing the blue of the sky. The sky was repainted by Derain who must have originally left more room for the mountains. A jug set on a white cloth in the bottom right anchors the composition.
The body of the female model, outlined in black, is represented in a realist way in some places and only as a sketch in others. For example, the fingers on the right hand and the toes are only suggested. But the model's eyes are not looking at the viewer and her face is very fixed. In fact, Derain gave it the appearance of a metallic, straight-nosed mask, like those he would later create out of bronze.
Derain had practised photography since 1910 and dedicated himself to it more and more in the 1920s. Perhaps the painter had drawn inspiration for the pose in this painting from a rediscovered photograph in which a model is seated in a very similar way. Later he used the exact same pose in this painting for one of his engravings.