5 3/8 x 4 1/4 in. (13.7 x 10.8 cm)
Medium and Support:
Label for Strategic Ambiguity: The Obscure Nebulous and Vague in Symbolist Prints, La Salle University Art Museum, December 6, 2012- March 1, 2013:
Besnard remains one of the finest examples of an artist whose Impressionist sensibilities translate into a deeper, sensuous art form. His ability to create a sense of mood and atmosphere impressed Symbolist critics. An acclaimed student at the École des beaux-arts in Paris, Besnard was honored with the distinguished Prix de Rome award. Besnard’s lyrical approach is generally characterized by a desire to capture the softness and contrast of light and form. La Toilette combines his tender, feminine style with the femme fatale motif as
evidenced by the woman’s darkly hidden face. As Gabriel Mourey describes in his biography of Besnard, “he sings the triumphs and the intimacies of a woman, moving among the games of light, in the apparatus or abandonment of its beauty.” The accompanying essay in the Gazette des beaux-arts notes that Besnard was raised by a caring mother who fostered his affectionate style, saying he “was formed in the environment most conducive to the development of his sensitivity and the flight ofimagination.” The entry also notes the artist’s respect for Ingres, and his desire to emulate the softness of thewomen in his paintings.
Emily Levy, '12