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At the Suresnes Ball

André Derain, French, 1880–1954
Oil on canvas
Paris, Île-de-France, Western Europe, France, Europe
Current Location
On View, Gallery 213
70 7/8 × 57 1/8 in. (180 × 145.1 cm)
framed: 81 7/8 × 67 15/16 × 3 1/2 in. (208 × 172.6 × 8.9 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
© 2020 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY / ADAGP, Paris
Object Number
A man in an infantry uniform dances with a taller woman, the splayed fingers of his white-gloved hand sharply illuminated against her green skirt. Three fellow soldiers observe in the background; the tallest may be a self-portrait of André Derain who painted this work during a year of military service. The artist takes a humorous approach to his subject, presenting the dance as an awkward social ritual. This early picture is notable for its areas of bold, flat color, anticipating Derain’s experiments with Fauvism.
Ambroise Vollard (1867-1939), Paris, France

Étienne Bignou (1891-1950), Paris, France; New York, NY, USA

Joseph Brummer (1883-1947), New York, NY

by 1936 - 1943
Carroll Carstairs, New York, NY [1]

In auction of "Important Paintings" at Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, April 29, 1943, lot no. 41 [2]

- 1944
Safron Galleries (Max Safron), St. Louis, MO

1944 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Safron Galleries [3]

The main source for this provenance is Kellermann's catalogue raisonné, cat. no. 351 [Kellermann, Michel. "André Derain: catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint." Paris: Editions Galerie Schmit, 1992]. Exceptions and other supporting documents are noted.

[1] This painting was included in an exhibition from November 1936 until January 1937 at the Brummer Gallery. At that time it was in the collection of Carroll Carstairs, as it is referenced in the accompanying exhibition catalogue ["Derain." Brummer Gallery, New York, November 9, 1936 - January 2, 1937, cat. 42]. Evidently this work was brought to the United States in 1936, the same year as the Brummer exhibition. Macolm Vaughan wrote in 1941: "The Suresnes Ball... dropped into oblivion from the time it was painted until it came to light the other day and was brought to New York. It had been lying rolled up in a Paris attic for years and had never been framed" [Vaughan, Malcom. "Derain." New York: The Hyperion Press, 1941, p. 30]. An undated note by the Max Safron Gallery further verifies this statement: "The picture originally purchased by Ambroise Vollard was rolled up and put away until brought to America in 1936" [SLAM document files].

The painting was still in the Carstairs' collection in 1943. An exhibition catalogue from that year indicates the painting was lent by Carroll Carstairs Gallery, New York ["Catalogue of an Exhibition of Men in Arms." Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT, February 2 - March 4, 1943, cat. 24].

[2] It was offered by Carstairs at auction April 29, 1943, and likely sold to Safron Galleries ["Important Paintings". New York: Parke-Bernet Galleries, April 29, 1943, lot no. 41].

[3] Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, October 5, 1944.
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