Étienne Tournès (1855-1931) a French artist, who studied at École des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux and later in Paris with Alexandre Cabanel and Henri Harpignies. Over the years, he exhibited at the Paris Salons of the Sociéte des Artistes Français and later, as a member of the Salon of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. He worked in portrait painting, particularly favoring nudes and interior scenes. A characteristic motif in the artist’s work is the depiction of a partially nude young woman, facing away from the viewer, whose face is reflected in a mirror. The figure appears in an interior, accompanied by an older woman *. Similarly to the painting in the Rogalin Gallery.
Description of the painting:
The painting depicts an intimate scene taking place in an interior. In the foreground, almost in the center, the artist placed the figure of a woman. Facing away from the viewer, she is in the process of getting ready for the toilet. She is taking off her red jacket, remaining in a white corset with dropped straps. The rest of the wardrobe consists of a floor-length purple skirt. The artist applied a technique that allowed him to show the woman’s face, placing her reflection in the mirror in the background. However, her head is bowed, only the outline of her face is visible in the shadows. The mirror is placed above the washbasin, on which toiletries and a towel are visible. The right part of the work is occupied by an older woman entering the room, which is probably a servant carrying a jug of water for washing. She is dressed modestly, in a black dress with a long sleeve tied with a white apron.
The scene is kept in a dark color scheme, dominated by grays and browns. The room is dark, as if veiled. However, the artist introduces rays of light, the source of which is a window located outside the frame of the painting, on the left. They light up the bare back of the woman, which, as the only bright spot, attracts the viewer’s attention. The illuminated figure is also the strongest point of the color of the work, which is emphasized by the intense colors of her clothes. In contrast to her is the older woman hidden in the shadows. The artist juxtaposes two stages of life in the work – youth and maturity.