Hammer Galleries, New York
Private Collection (purchased from above early 1990’s)
ExhibitionBrussels, Centre for Fine Arts Brussels; The Hague, Gemeentemuseum, Théo Van Rysselberghe, 2006, p. 259, illustrated p. 232
LiteratureRonald Feltkamp, Théo Van Rysselberghe. Catalogue Raisonné, Brussels, 2003, no. 1906-016, illustrated p. 358.
Brussels, Centre for Fine Arts Brussels; The Hague, Gemeentemuseum, Théo Van Rysselberghe, 2006, p. 259, illustrated p. 232.
Théo van Rysselberghe’s Portrait de Sylvie Lacombe, painted in 1906, is a classic masterwork by one of the most refined and consistent portrait painters of his time. The color is harmonious, the brushwork vigorous and tailored to its material task, her body and countenance true and revealing. The sitter is the daughter of his good friend, the painter Georges Lacombe, who shared a close association with Gauguin, and was a member of Les Nabis with artists Bonnard, Denis, and Vuillard, among others. We now know about Sylvie Lacombe because Van Rysselberghe is so skilled at rendering subtle facial expressions and through careful observation and attention to detail, provided insights into her inner world. He has chosen a direct gaze, her eyes to yours, an inescapable covenant between subject and viewer regardless of our physical relationship to the painting. Van Rysselberghe had largely abandoned the Pointillist technique when he painted this portrait. But he continued to apply color theory guidelines by using tints of red — pinks and mauves — against greens to create a harmonious ameliorated palette of complementary colors to which he added a strong accent to draw the eye – an intensely saturated, red bow asymmetrically laid to the side of her head.
AMR market graph January 1976 – November 2022
- Three of Van Rysselberghe’s top ten sales at auction occurred in the last three years.
- Half of his top ten sales at auction occurred in the last six years.
- Nine of his top 20 sales at auction are portraits.
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