Jules Pascin, Nue couchée
1917, ink and water-colour on paper, 23 x 34 cm
Julius Mordecai Pincas (°1885-1930), known as Jules Pascin or the "Prince of Montparnasse", was born in a Bulgarian Town named Vidin. His parents were successful grain dealers. But instead of following his parents in their footsteps, Pincas spent a lot of his time in a local brothel, making drawings of the young girls waiting for their next clients. He studied painting in Munich. In this artistically vibrant city he managed to support himself by selling drawings to Simplicissimus, a satirical magazine published in Munich.
At the age of 20 in 1905, Julius Pincas moved to Paris and adopted the name Pascin, an anagram of Pincas. Pascins satirical and insightful drawings were widely known in Europe and he quickly became part of the international art scène in Paris. At the outbreak of World War I, Pascin moved to the United States to avoid his service in the Bulgarian army. But soon after the war he returned to Paris and became the symbol of the Montparnasse art community. He organized legendary all night-parties and summer picnics for artists by the River Marne. Despite his active social life, Pascin struggled with alcoholism and a depression. And at the age of 45, after the opening of one of his exhibitions, he committed suicide.
Jules Pascin lived a bohemian life in Paris and his friends inspired his drawings. Pascin was mostly known for his elegantly, erotic watercolors and drawings of naked or sensual women. Characteristic is his use of simple and decisive lines, as if his drawings are hastily made sketches. In 'Nue couchée' we see a naked women lying sideways on some kind of couch. The figure is build up out of simple lines. The contrasts between the darker (the couch, the woman's curly hair) and the sober or even untouched parts make up the depiction. Jules Pascin uses this simple contrasts with the greatest effectiveness and resoluteness.
Text: Lisa van Gerven