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This painting is an allegorical representation of the life of an artist. It is a completely invented scene, bearing no resemblance to the solitariness of Derain's true working conditions. He has portrayed himself surrounded by members of his family, who can be seen as modern muses. His wife reads a book, a reference to the artist's literary interests. His niece holds a dog, a symbol of her fidelity to the artist. His sister-in-law brings refreshments in the manner of a maidservant in a seventeenth-century painting. The animals and fruit also symbolise aspects of the calling of an artist.

August 2004