Uśmiech Besnard, (Paul) Albert (1849 - 1934)


Paul Albert Besnard (1849-1934), the author ofHorses Bitten by Flies“, one of the first works purchased for the Rogalin Gallery by Edward Alexander Raczynski, made a great impression on the collection‘s owner. Two more paintings by this painter appeared in the Raczynski collection:Smile andWoman with Blue Drapery“. Besnardhad early developed his own style, based on a compromise between academic conventions and Impressionist techniques […] Rejecting both idealization and detailed naturalism in portraits, he emphasized the depiction of the models environment in order to more fully reveal their personalities, and, as he said, to express their connection with the world in which they live.”*

Description of the picture:
InA Smile a young woman captured inen trois quarts (three quarters, obliquely) was immortalized. Her face is turned towards the painter. However, the model is looking to the right. She focuses on a point placed relatively high. Her dark brown eyes are full of joy, accentuated by the title smile appearing on her lips. The deep, naturally red color of her fleshy lips is highlighted by the cheekbones blushes and delicate, almost milky skin. The woman‘s head is adorned with her darkblonde hair pulled back from the back. She has her right hand resting on the handle of a low chair or on the table top. She is only wearing snowwhite lingerie, which slips off her shoulder, revealing the outline of her breasts. The right side of the model‘s silhouette is bathed in a golden glow of a candle or a fireplace, which enhances the feeling of naturalness and intimacy of the portrayal. The left side, on the other hand, shimmers with the bright daylight reflecting on it. The figure is depicted on a dark, indeterminate background, in which one can make out browns, greys and greens.

Albert Besnard‘s painting, although it does not depict a female nude, is full of sensuality. This is manifested in the intimate scene taking place in a closed interior, the outfit worn by the model, the pose she has adopted and the smile on her lips. The artist placed her delicate face shimmering with golden and cold light reflections on the background, devoid of clear contours, enhancing its glare.