Sometimes a model just can’t let go. After my last drawing Geesje Kwak still lingered in my mind. I also happened to find more pictures of her, taken by Breitner. This photo is not from a model session I think but shows her in contemporary garments. Perhaps he bought them for her. Who knows. It seems some kind of puff sleeve dress, popular at the end of the 19th century.
It is quite some time ago I did portraits like these such as my sans titre series. Reason enough to do another one. Because of the lockdown and teaching students 1-on-1 in my apartment I did not have time for my regular model. Apparently Geesje acts like a temporary surrogate muse. If she would have been living now I certainly would ask her to sit for me.
It goes beyond saying I like contrasts very much. Not only in the art work itself but also is consecutive works and even series. The last one I found attractive because of the subtle lighting. It seemed to put the stress on the fragile beauty of a child woman. This one is quite the opposite and her image looks like a gigantic repoussoir against nothing but blank space. It is powerful, even though the dark tones almost blur all recognizable details, especially in the face. So there was some interpretation to be made, also in the folds of the dress.
People who know me by now know that I am not your regular cubist. Perhaps time to refute ‘multi-perspectivism’ once again. This having said, to me it is all about the abstraction of the quantity and quality of forms, nothing more. Tonal values however rule my world and a correct use of them keeps the depiction plausible, even though it has become abstracted. The challenge therefor in this drawing was to play a hefty tone without facing the risk of rendering it too lumpish. Halfway I came to the conclusion I wanted to extrapolate some of the plains outside the delineation of the figure. The result is that these soft tonal regions contrast the dark mass inside the dominant figure. It even induces a feel of movement somehow.
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
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