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Woman with a Birdcage József Rippl-Rónai

Artist:

József Rippl-Rónai Kaposvár, 1861 – Kaposvár, 1927

Date: 1892
Medium: canvas, oil
Dimensions: 185.5 × 130 cm
Type: painting
Inventory number: FK1385
Collection: Collection of Paintings

Between 1887 and 1900, Rippl-Rónai lived in Paris. His works featured regularly in exhibitions at the Salon du Champ-de-Mars, he became a member of the inner circle around the periodical La Revue Blanche known as “Les artistes intelligents”, and he also participated in a few shows held by the art group, the Nabis.
During the period in the 1890s when Rippl-Rónai was concentrating on colour reduction, he was greatly influenced by Whistler, the great American artist living in the French capital, whose single-toned, narrow-format works inspired the Hungarian painter to produce a series of paintings featuring female figures.
In his emblematic masterpiece from this period, Woman with a Bird-Cage, the ethereal lady is dressed in black, surrounded by decorative, art nouveau wavy lines. Like the single-figure paintings he produced around this time, there are very few motifs present, the viewpoint is simplified, and the artist’s focus is on the essence. The delicate profile of the settee, with its curved armrest, and the pale outline of the wooden chair are the only elements that indicate an interior. As a counterpoint to the dark background, light falls on the pale silhouette of the woman’s face, devoid of all plasticity, and on the hands holding up the cage. Rippl-Rónai’s paintings from this time often feature female faces spiritually illuminated by some inner light.

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