art deco female pastel drawing

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Paris 24 – 04-07-24

100 Years of Art Deco

This pastel drawing ‘Paris 24 – 04-07-24’ celebrates 100 years of art deco. I consider this the last true aesthetic artistic style human kind was able to forge. Before I delve deeper into this bold statement let me tell you about underlying intentions. Last Wednesday I rode my bike to Brugman Art where I rent my studio. After a week of doing due website maintenance I was a bit fed up with it. Why not set off for a quick under one hour sketch like I did during last live model session? On a whim really, so I delved into my folder or reference pictures I store on my iPad. Then I stumbled upon a beautiful reference picture taken by Alfred Cheney Johnston. It’s part of the famous Ziegfeld Folies series.

Ziegfeld Folies

Back in 2011 I based a couple of pastel drawings on them for the first time. Aforesaid reference photo I stored on my computer to look at it later. See what I could do with it. Initially I thought these pictures were taken in Paris. However, I recently found out they were all taken in the U.S. It doesn’t matter really. The idea was vested in my mind to do a sort of Parisian theme with it. It turns out that producer Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. also became inspired by the Folies Bergère. Therefor, the link with Paris is not illogical.

Chain of Ideas

As I progressed I saw the potential to do more than only a sketch. Of late I tend to include more narratives in my work like I did in Venus Lamenting – 14-06-24. Nothing more bothersome than sheer copying a reference photo. It’s all about the value added, don’t you think? Then a chain of ideas came to mind. The 2024 Summer Olympics was one of them. Coincidentally Paris hosted the ‘Jeux Olympiques d’Été’ in 1924. Another reason to include Paris. Hence, I was bound to refer to this event in my pastel. A woman like this as main theme surely induces the comparison with some kind of goddess or patron saint.

Geneviève de Paris

Then I remembered the story of Geneviève de Paris. She protected Paris from the Huns in 451. Her sarcophagus resides in Église Saint-Étienne-du-Mont de Paris. When I saw the photo I spotted these lovely rosette-like structures. They looked art deco-ish. Almost too good to be true and I decided to incorporate them in the upper part. There you have it, all these ideas turned into some kind of poster of decorative nature. Plenty of them made in the Art Deco epoque.

Bits and Bobs

A couple of things bothered me a bit. Props like the necklace I left out because I found it unnecessary opulent. Next tot his, a clear resemblance of the model’s face I didn’t long for. Instead it turned into a sort of Elckerlijc. She could be any beautiful woman really but foremost one Renoir would have loved to depict. Once I had a girlfriend in France and she looked like stepping right out of one of his paintings. Her bonny face and pouty lips served as an inspirational source. Not really looking like her actually but it’s a little homage to Renoir’s idea of Parisian women perhaps. One final thought to conclude this art statement. Geneviève will protect Paris from the Huns once more this summer.

Pastel drawing on Canson Mi-Teintes (50 x 65 x 0.1 cm)

Artist: Corné Akkers

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