Madeleine Lamiere, Woman Sitting in a Dagobert Armchair
Madeleine Jeanne Lemaire (1845-1928) was a French painter and printmaker, as well as in important figure in Parisian cultural development, hosting gatherings of artists and introducing Marcel Proust to the intellectual Salon scene. Her earliest work shows a strong vein of French academicism, but she soon began developing her own style. By introducing fashion into her work, Lemaire portrayed Modernity in its purest form and stood out from her peers. She painted complex views of modern society, as well as the complex feelings of society women. Lemaire continued to work throughout her life and produced fascinating work with intense emotionality. The featured painting is no exception. Although the backdrop and chair are quite skillfully rendered, the star of the painting is undoubtedly the woman herself. She sits casually in a very modern garment and headpiece. She is very much the modern woman of the early twentieth century, with an early flapper vibe. However, she seems ambivalent. The woman seems pleased to be sitting in an expensive dress and sitting in an ornate chair, but perhaps unsure if she belongs there. She also looks a bit small in that large chair and against that vast backdrop. Nevertheless, she gazes resolutely at the artist and viewer, asserting her place. Notice the model's smooth face and the lines created by her arms and legs, creating subtle yet engaging shapes. This beautiful painting leads us to question the feelings of the subject, successfully portraying the nuance of her thoughts.