In the course of his career as an artist, Derain is influenced by a great number of eminent art movements in search of an individual understanding of creative expression. Being one of the primary representatives of the French avant-garde movement and co-founder of Fauvism associated with Ma- tisse and Vlaminck, he tries to establish a balance between the individually hardly reconcilable extremes of tradition, abstraction and theory also in his later works. Passionate about art, he is in quest of a deep truth which is so difficult for him to discern in his own work.1
“I do not wish to propagate any theories about what needs to be done in art. I simply paint as well as I possibly can. The trouble is that there are too many theories already in circulation along with a lack of passion to bring them to life.” 2
Our drawing has been produced in the 1920s, during a time when Derain deals extensively with the classical to- pics of Italy and is influenced by a conscious and strong awareness of tradition and substance. The young woman is shown in profile. It is clear that Derain’s intention was to depict a kind of beauty that reminds the observer of the statues of antiquity, thereby lessening the appeal to draw upon individual qualities of a person and instead tracing back to the classical ideal of beauty by the means of idealised physiognomy. However, Derain makes use of an abundance of abstract elements, thereby creating his individual style out of symbiotic mastership.
1 Gotthard Jedlicka: Der Fauvismus. Zurich 1961, p. 23 ff.
2 Gaston Diehl: André Derain, Munich 1977, p. 17.