Francis Gruber 1912-1948
Inscribed 'Job | 1944 | FRANCIS Gruber' b.l.
Oil on canvas, 63 3/4 x 51 1/8 (162 x 130); the paint surface extends around the stretcher about a further centimetre at the top and both sides
Purchased from Mme Georges Gruber (Grant-in-Aid) 1958
Exh:Salon d'Automne, Paris, October-November 1944 (614); Francis Gruber, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, April-May 1950 (35); Pariser Malerei der Gegenwart, Kunsthalle, Basle, May-June 1951 (not in catalogue); Cent Chefs-d'Oeuvre de l'Art Français, 1750-1950, Galerie Charpentier, Paris, May-September 1957 (42); Francis Gruber 1912-1948, Tate Gallery, April-May 1959 (not in catalogue)
Repr:Arts, No.618, 8-14 May 1957, p.11; Studio, CLIX, 1960, p.111 in colour
Gruber painted this picture for the Salon d'Automne of 1944 - the so-called Salon of the Liberation, which opened just after the Liberation of Paris - and it was his wish to symbolise the oppressed peoples who, like Job, had undergone a great ordeal of suffering. The inscription on the paper at which the figure is looking reads: 'Maintenant encore, ma plainte est une révolte, et pourtant ma main comprime mes soupirs'. This is taken from The Book of Job, 23.11.
He afterwards made at least one further painting of this title showing the same model seated in a landscape, a picture measuring 92 x 73cm and dated 1944 which was lent to the Gruber exhibition in Paris in 1950 by Louis Carré. The same model also appears in 'Naked Man' 1945 (collection Dr Zara), which shows him standing naked in a landscape with another figure behind, in the distance, rushing off to the left as if in terror.
The setting of the present work does not represent any particular place, but serves to evoke the atmosphere of Paris 14e, where the artist was living at the time.
(This entry is based on information from Mme Gruber, October 1958 and January 1975).
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.344, reproduced p.344