ProvenancePrivate collection, France
Chapiro’s interpretation of the time-honored theme of the artist and his model is bold and daring; it is a combination of Cubist forms using a Fauvist palette and a Surrealist subject. Chapiro has matched the originality of his more well-known avant-garde contemporaries, who strove to capture their subjects using abstracted lines and forms and an unprecedented palette, a new art that still resulted in a convincing display of what they were painting or sculpting. In our painting, Chapiro has depicted a voluptuous model; she almost overtakes the entire picture, her flesh tones painted in a mixture of vibrant pinks that turn to red. Curled up next to her is what appears to be a striped cat, perhaps a nod to Manet’s Olympia? But the ambiguity of the little animal equally speaks to a Surrealist imagination. The artist, wearing a dark green smock and hat intently focuses on his canvas, brush in one hand and palette in the other. From the various black lines and forms showing roof tops, electric wires and trees, it appears the artist’s studio is located on an upper floor, perhaps in La Ruche. Chapiro hints at other forms in the studio – the presence of a table, the structure of an easel or a chair and even the chimney pipe of a stove. All these various elements serve to construct the space.
While little is known about the dating of Chapiro’s work or the evolution of his style, our painting is similar to three other works, which all focus on various métiers: a sculptor, a carpenter and a tailor. One may speculate that these all formed part of a series together with our painting.