Three chalk studies on one large sheet of paper, laid I believe on board, the subject one young boy of Negroid or other non-Caucasian ancestry (North African possibly), the upper drawings his head viewed from different angles, the large central drawing of him nude in a dynamic pose, as if springing up from a sitting position. The fine work in several colors, 27 1/4" by 21 1/2" (and modern silvery frame 1 1/2" in width), is signed at lower left and inscribed "A Monsieur Raymond Petain/en Sympathie(??)/O Guillonnet". This is a drawing by the well-known, long-lived French impressionist artist EMILE OCTAVE DENIS VICTOR GUILLONNET (1872-1967). Guillonnet was a precocious talent, already producing art in his mid teens, and he lived into his mid 90's, producing art until very near the end of his life. An advanced impressionist or post-impressionist artist in his mature period, he is best known today for beautifully painted, highly colored, dreamy works, often featuring gardens, reveries in those gardens, and idyllic landscapes. He worked near Paris and often in the Alpes Maritimes of southern France near Nice. Biographical information is not all that readily available, but I noted online that his wife was an enthusiastic gardener, accounting no doubt for the numerous painted scenes of trellises and architectural features within garden settings. Elegant women or odalisques often populate Guillonnet's paintings. The drawings seem to be scarce to rare in the auction record. I have researched Raymond Petain and see a World War II aviation hero by that name, but I do not believe that this was the individual to whom this was inscribed. Further research would perhaps reveal more. The drawing is in good condition, though I note the uneven background, mottled in places, This effect might well be due to a combination of factors: discoloration from age, contact with the board or glass (no mat), and possible moist environment at some point in its life. I do not think the uneven background is the artist's original intent. See images of Guillonnet's especially beautiful oil paintings online. Many of these appealing paintings bring into five figures at auctions in Europe and the United States. Allow for reflections in several images. In order to minimize reflections, the photos were taken at unusual angles. More photos can be forwarded upon request.
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