Jean Puy (1876-1960)  - Seated Red-Haired Woman, oil on canvas, circa 1903
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Jean Puy (1876-1960) Seated Red-Haired Woman, oil on canvas, circa 1903


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Seated Red-Haired Woman, oil on canvas from 1903, signed twice at the bottom left «J Puy» and bearing the stamp of the Ambroise Vollard estate on the back.

It is during his Fauvist period that Jean Puy (Roanne 1876 – 1960) executes Seated Red-Haired Woman around 1903, signed twice at the bottom left «J Puy». Impressionist and neo-Impressionist in his early years, he evolves towards Fauvism between 1902 and 1907. He then joins the group that includes Matisse, Derain, Marquet, Manguin, Camoin, and others. Nevertheless, as evidenced by the painting Seated Red-Haired Woman, his style expresses a reasoned Fauvism, without embracing the distortion that he considers excessive among his friends. Instead, adopting the vocabulary of the Fauves, the artist bathes his canvas in intense and saturated colors.

A candid portrait, the painter has captured the emotion of his subject. With half-closed eyes, the woman looks at the viewers with a downcast expression. She poses in a poorly-fitted nightgown and bare feet, as if she had just risen from bed. The casually worn outfit is modeled in shades of white and treated, through folds, with a beautiful play of shadow and light. This woman, with a white body contrasting with fiery hair, a canon of the time, brings to mind the model Mimi la Rousse by the painter Charles Camoin (1979 – 1965), found in several of his paintings. Jean Puy met Camoin during exhibitions at the Salon des Indépendants and the Salon d'Automne. During his early years in Paris, Jean Puy and his group of friends frequently gathered to experiment and exchange ideas on their pictorial research, likely sharing their models. However, while the artist depicts a young red-haired woman in this painting, most of his portraits feature brunettes. The seated woman is a constant in the painter's works, placing his models generally on chairs or sometimes directly on the floor. The space is articulated around the vertical lines of the window, curtain, and chair, and the horizontal lines of the window and fireplace. The composition infuses movement into the treatment of color, enriched by a wide palette, and offers remarkable energy in brushwork. The gesture is swift, and the use of colors favors bright and bold shades.

This painting charms with its meditative realism and draws spectators into the daily life of the early 20th century. The work breathes the artist's love for women.

The painting bears the stamp of the Ambroise Vollard estate on the back. It was indeed in 1905 that Jean Puy entered Ambroise Vollard's circle, one of the greatest Parisian art dealers, who provided him with support. Through Vollard, tasked by major collectors to choose works representative of contemporary French artists, paintings by Jean Puy found their way to the Moscow palace of Chtchoukine in Russia and the Hahnloser collection in Switzerland. Furthermore, at the request of this art dealer, Jean Puy joined the group known as the École d'Asnières.

Jean Puy (1876-1960)  - Seated Red-Haired Woman, oil on canvas, circa 1903
© 2023 - Luxvic


  • Year: 1903
  • Origin: France
  • Artist: Jean Puy
  • Material or technique: Oil on canvas
  • Sizes: 60 x 73 cm (Width x Height)


Collective, under the direction of Suzanne Limouzi and Louis Fressonnet-Puy. Catalog raisonné of the painted works of Jean Puy, Roanne, Les Amis de Jean Puy, 2001, referenced as number 10614 and reproduced on page 63.

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