GEORGES LACOMBE (Versailles 1868 - 1916 Alençon)

Portrait of a Young Woman

Black chalk on off-white wove paper
14 × 10 ⅝ inches (35.6 × 27 cm)
Monogrammed lower left
Circa 1892

Born into a cultivated, well-off family, Georges Lacombe first studied with his mother the painter and printmaker Laure Lacombe (1834-1924).  He subsequently studied under Georges Bertrand, as well as Alfred Philippe Roll and Henri Gervex - both of whom were good friends of Lacombe’s family. 

Lacombe spent the summers of 1888 to 1897 on the Brittany coast, where he befriended the painter Paul Serusier.  He became attracted to the group of painters known as the Nabis, who had migrated from Paris to the village of Pont Aven.  Serusier, as well as Paul Gauguin and Émile Bernard, were founding members of this group.  Gauguin, in fact, inspired Lacombe to begin carving sculpture in wood and, henceforth, he quickly became known as the Nabi sculptor.

His initial training as a painter, however, meant that he was equally adept as a draughtsman.  Lacombe’s work can be found in the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Norton Simon Museum of Art, Pasadena.

Our drawing is a sensitive rendering of the features of a seated young Breton girl looking pensively into the distance.  There are a number of studies of this kind, in the documentation at the Musée d’Orsay, of Breton women, as well as of fellow artists, which demonstrate Lacombe’s abilities as a draughtsman.  These lively studies were drawn in and around Pont Aven, where Lacombe was in residence.