Artwork by René Marcil,  Abstract #34 (Empire)

René Marcil
Abstract #34 (Empire)

oil on canvas
signed and dated 1957 lower right (also signed and dated 1956 vertically upper right); inscribed “Empire” on the stretcher
41 x 49.25 ins ( 104.1 x 125.1 cms )

Auction Estimate: $25,000.00$20,000.00 - $25,000.00

Price Realized $16,800.00
Sale date: June 15th 2022

Provenance:
Patrimoine Marcil
Private Collection, Toronto
A painter, draftsman and fashion illustrator from Montreal, René Marcil spent most of his professional life in New York, Paris and London. In 1947, Marcil played a pivotal role in the successful launch of Christian Dior’s New Look collection in the United States.

Marcil moved to Paris in 1952 to attend the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. He rented a studio on the Left Bank and quickly became a Montparno, a name for the artists and intellectuals who frequented the Montparnasse cafés and restaurants. He socialized with painters such as Sonia Delaunay, who influenced the evolution of his style to colourful abstraction, akin to the popular Neoplasticism movement. The Galerie l’Art Français in Montreal described his work from this period as “intense, luminous and has the quality of combining graphic design, great draftsmanship, extraordinary color, fascinating surfaces... [and] poetic feeling.”

“Abstract #34 (Empire)” was completed in 1957, while Marcil was still living in Paris (he left the French capital in 1965 to move to London). The composition is a crisp, pleasing abstract image of black and white and primary colours. It simultaneously carries a sense of order and spontaneity, due to a balance between line, form, colour and space.

René Marcil’s work is represented in permanent collections internationally, including the Musée des Arts Décoratifs at the Louvre, Paris, the Collections Nationales de France, Ministère de la Culture de France, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

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René Marcil
(1917 - 1993)

A Montreal-born painter, draftsman and fashion illustrator, René Marcil spent most of his professional life in New York, Paris, London and the French Riviera. After the war, the artist played a pivotal role in the launch of Christian Dior’s New Look collection in the United States. Olivier Gabet, Director of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris at the Louvre, wrote in 2018 that "Marcil's drawings - expressive and refined sketches - enable one to appreciate the dissemination of fashion trends in the media and the history of fashion illustration style.”

Marcil moved to Paris in the 1950’s and joined the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. He rented a studio on the Left Bank and quickly became a Montparno, a name for the artists and intellectuals who frequented the Montparnasse cafés and restaurants. He socialized with painters such as Sonia Delaunay, who influenced the evolution of his style to colourful abstraction, akin to the popular Neoplasticism movement. The Galerie l’Art Français in Montreal described his work from this period as “intense, luminous and has the quality of combining graphic design, great draftsmanship, extraordinary color, fascinating surfaces…[and] poetic feeling."

The artist later evolved towards Neo-expressionism, sometimes referred to as the ‘’New Fauves’’, with a style characterized by intense subjectivity and rough handling of materials. During this period, Marcil was particularly influenced by the Naturalism literary movement.

Today, Marcil’s paintings and fashion drawings are in the permament collections of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs at the Louvre, Paris, the Collections Nationales de France, Ministère de la Culture de France, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.