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Femme assise dans un jardin (Woman sitting in a garden)

Othon Friesz

(1879 - 1949) | Rouen, Musée des Beaux-Arts (Inv. D.1960.1.1)

Date : 2 February 1923 | Medium : Technique: Oil on canvas, 54 x 64.5 cm

Far from the strident Fauvist chromaticism he employed early on, here Friesz shows influences of Cézanne, which translate into an economy with colours specific to this part of the post-war period.

Nothing is known of the former provenance of this work. It was discovered in January 1945 amongst a cache of works located near Unteruhldingen, on Lake Constance, in the French area of Germany’s occupation. This cache was discovered following the arrest of a certain Zimmer, a former 2nd-class attaché from the military government of Ravensburg. The works were safeguarded at the initiative of Gustav Rochlitz (1889-1972), a German painter and expert who obtained French nationality and settled in Paris from 1933, where he was a dealer in antique paintings and had a gallery located first on La Cité Bergère then on Rue de Rivoli. He was in close contact with the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR), a German service dedicated to despoiling works of art located at Jeu de Paume in the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris. This is how many of the despoiled works were then sold on the art market, often through the exchange of antique works for modern works of art that had been despoiled then rejected by the regime. However, the previous provenance of this painting could not be pieced back together and it is impossible to determine whether it came from a despoilment or was acquired on the art market.

Sent to the Baden-Baden Collecting Point on 7 November 1946, the painting left for Paris the following 10th December.

Retained by the 3rd Selection Committee on 19 December 1949, the painting is assigned to the National Museum of Modern Art on 31 December 1949, an allocation validated by the decree of 16 May 1951, before being deposited in the Museum of Rouen by the decree of 28 July 1960.