Witcomb gallery in Buenos Aires
Juan Antonio Fernandez Anchorena, Buenos Aires (around 1925)
Thence by descent, Pedro Nazar Anchorena, Buenos Aires
Beginning in 1886, Dagnan-Bouveret developed a strong interest in scenes of Brittany, a passion that resulted in many of his most well-known paintings, including The Pardon in Brittany (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). He was inspired by previous painters, such as Jules Breton, who also had been drawn to the region in large part because of the tradition of spirituality among the local communities; their devotion expressed in the large gatherings at grand pardons and religious ceremonies.
Our painting most likely dates from this period when Dagnan-Bouveret’s fascination with Brittany, and especially its religious traditions, was at the forefront of his mind and creativity. Numerous studies and individual paintings exist showing solitary women set in interiors or out of doors, almost always wearing a variety of regional headdresses. Judging from the architecture, our young Breton girl is located inside a church; perhaps she is a young postulant, her missel clasped in her hand and wearing a cross around her neck. She could easily have been a participant in one of the grand pardons that the artist would have witnessed during his visits to Brittany. Her gaze, direct and almost mystical, prefigures Dagnan’s later sacred paintings and hints at his own spiritual conversion later in life.