There is this girl that I know for a long time: Geesje Kwak. Throughout the decades I visited many museums. Once in a while I also come across Breitner’s famous oil paintings in the ‘Girl in Kimono series’. They manage to keep me enchanted and fascinated by the quality of the craflty depiction. Besides that, the mysterious girl looks like a perfect match, contrasting the lush japonerie fashionable at that time. She looks almost translucent in those japanese garments because of her pale skin complexion and slenderness. The words ‘fragile’ and ‘fairylike’ involuntary keep popping up in my mind. He could not have found a better model than her.
A couple of years back I used one of Breitner’s pictures for a graphite pencil drawing (Nude after Breitner’s Photograph – 22-04-17). Next to being a painter he also was a great photographer; a pioneer in using photos for paintings. This drawing therefor is yet another hommage to the artist. This time the effort also is in honor of Geesje. Tragically, posing for George Breitner was her only claim to fame and her finest moment. After posing at age 15 she emigrated to South Africa, only to die of typhus in Pretoria at age 22. Luckily, her beauty remains the same on canvas and now on paper.
The reference photo made a hugh impression on me and I did not know it yet. Her skin tones almost seem to flow into the ones in the garment. Because of her youthful appearance I decided to employ a cubistic styling. Girls of that age do not show roundish forms yet. I kept the tonal value range as shown in the picture though. Surely I needed the subtlety in tones badly in order to prevent having the kimono look like an iceberg.
Read here about the sale of this art work to a Swiss collector.
Graphite pencil drawing (Sakura 0.5 mm, Pentel 4B) on Talens Bristol paper (21 x 29.7 x 0.1 cm) – A4 format)
Artist: Corné Akkers