Monday, 23 December 2013

Etienne Drian - more French Boudoir Art

Here is an artist that until now, I had dismissed as some minor name who created a few pleasant but derivative works in the boudoir art style of Louis Icart. Now.... I know differently !!

This etching is typical of many created in the mid 1920's, having the pretty girls, parrots and an oval format. In fact very similar to those by the artist Jean Hardy and before reading the signature, that would have been my guess. However, it's not signed Hardy or by any of the more familiar boudoir artists but signed "Drian"

The signature belongs to the French artist Etienne Drian (1885-1961) who is sometimes referred to as Adrien.(probably incorrectly). He was a talented artist; essentially a painter of women and renowned for that, also he depicted figures, portraits, still-lifes and was a water-colourist, etcher, illustrator and theatre designer as well as creating more commercial art as illustrations for magazines such as the Gazette du Bon Ton and Vogue.

He depicted fashions for magazines and portrayed the fashionable beauties of the era,– including the stylish actresses Cecile Sorel and the flamboyant but doomed Gaby Deslys (who numbered King Manuel II of Portugal amongst her lovers) with evocative flair.

He had exquisite taste, converting an old mill complex in the countryside outside Paris which was so chic that the Duke and Duchess of Windsor eventually acquired it as their beloved pied a campagne. ref - Hamish Bowles

See the etched portrait on the left; Lady (Gaby Deslys) Looking over her Shoulder and the two below. All these, have an Edwardian feel, more the style of Helleu or early Maurice Milliere than the later Art Deco of the opening image.

Sold £3250 Christies 2007

I can't trace any reference to his early artistic training, although it is known that he worked with several theatre revues, in 1931 he designed the costumes and décor for the theatrical spectacular Le Casino de Paris. Early in his career he established a reputation as an illustrator, initially; from 1914 for La Gazette du Bon Ton and then Fémina. His illustrations could also be found in; L’Illustration, Le Journal des Dames et des Modes and Flirt together with fashion magazines aimed at the woman who needed to know exactly what to wear and when to where it. Illustrations with titles such as “La Femme à la Eventail”, “Robe de Linon”, “La dernière rose: robe d’après-midi de Redfern”, can be found.

He seems to have signed all his work simply "Drian" whether an illustration or a finished oil painting. Here are a few examples;

..... of all the pictures seen, what follows is my favourite, the most evocative and sensual. I am sure this would be a easy picture to sell and probably one of the more higher price of his etched works. I guess there must be one out there somewhere?

..... so perhaps now a few more of us will appreciate the art of Etienne Drian. I do and will be looking for more of his pictures.

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