Pascin, Musée Maillol

Musée Maillol, 59-61, rue de Grenelle. Until 4 june 2007.

To understand the artist Jules Pascin, it is necessary to cross over the legend. The legend of Montparnasse night bird, bars and brothels, amateur of girls and festivals, celebrity of the Dome and glory of the street Joseph Bara. The pathos of a romantic erotomaniac nevertheless, divided between two women, Hermine and Lucy, of which it cannot occur. This drama finishes by a suicide. It is hung in 1930, at 45 years, in its studio.  There is in the exhibition in the Maillol Museum - 150 works (paintings, sculptures, drawings) - many portraits of Hermine and of Lucy and many boarders of closed, naked or half-naked houses, only or couples some, sleeping or cherishing themselves. Earliest date from the first years of the century. It is not the Parisian ones, but Vienneses or the Berliner ones. Born Julius Mordecai Pincas in 1885 in a Bulgarian séfarade family, Pascin (pseudonym by anagram) studies in Budapest, Vienna, Munich and Berlin. With the wire of these stages and influences, between 1901 and 1905, it takes two practices: to observe on the reason, and to adopt the graphic style, which is with the mode in Europe of Gustav Klimt : a light feature, broken, allusive. Sometimes it is restricted to indicate the line of a leg or of a shoulder, sometimes it stops on the details of a profile or a hand. At the same time, Paul Klee does not draw quite different manner. One also thinks of Egon Schiele and the beginnings of Otto Ten and George Grosz. This mixed the embarrassing one and of ironic allows Pascin, in 1905, in Berlin, of living of its cartoons published in the illustrated newspapers. The satirical review most famous of Germany, Simplicissimus, signs a contract to him. A little later it leaves nevertheless for Paris, the town of Toulouse Lautrec.
Neither the fauvism nor the cubism change large-thing with its art. One of the lessons of the exhibition is to show Pascin, until the years 1920, faithful to its style of youth as much as on its subjects. That it is in New York in 1915, in the South of the United States or Cuba, in Paris where it returns in 1920, in Tunisia, in Spain or in Portugal, it is always the same untied and fast feature, the not very concerned fluidity of anatomical exactitude, same erotic imagination. Dance halls, beaches, steamers, hotels of luxury or master key: Pascin, which counts Paul Morand among his friends, holds the chronicle of gallant Europe. He also paints the same girls in the same installations. It seeks to obtain on the fabric the lightness to which it excels on paper and employs colors diluted in much gasoline, practitioner oil as a painter in watercolours. When he wants to build, to model, complete the table, the result is a little less happy than in its ghostly evocations.

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