In 1906, the avant-garde of painting was at a crossroad of thorough and profound
questioning of aesthetic as the interest of Fauve painters moved from colour to form and from form to drawings. That same year, Derain worked on a series of paintings and watercolours on the bather motif. Two of the most famous paintings are L’Age d’Or in the Modern Art Museum in Tehran and La Danse in a private collection. He also completed the painting Trois nu dans un paysage circa 1904 that was more directly associated with the theme of the Three Graces.
Expression of Fauvism in drawing is very different from expressing it in painting;
therefore the importance of form and outline takes precedence.
Derain wrote to Signac: “ It seems to me totally different one from the other, and even
absolutely contradictory […] Painting, especially divided, destroys the drawing which
finds its eloquence in outlines.”
Derain expressed then the necessity of a divorce between line and colour. He explored
many efforts and varied traces between continuous and multiplied lines, hashes, points, arabesques, stains and rubbings. He multiplied graphic experiences and finally managed to execute large watercolours, which show a perfect synthesis of drawing and colour.
The position of the three women alludes to Raphael’s The Three Graces, painted in the
sixteenth century. This mythological theme was very popular during the Renaissance.
Collection André Fize, Paris
Private collection, France
This work has been authenticated by the Comité Derain.