Zoltan Kemeny



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Not on display

Zoltan Kemeny 1907–1965
Original title
Clair de lune
Oil paint on board
Object: 1212 x 747 mm
Presented by Mrs Madeleine Kemeny, the artist's widow 1983

Catalogue entry

Zoltan Kemeny 1907-1965

T03595 Moonlight 1948

Oil on incised strawboard 1212 x 747 (47 3/4 x 29 3/8)
Inscribed on back, upper centre, 'CLAIR DE LUNE | KEMENY | No.344'
Presented by the artist's widow Mrs Madeleine Kemeny 1983
Exh: Zoltan Kemeny, Kunstmuseum, Berne, March-May 1982 (no number, repr.)

T03595 is entered in the artist's list of works as, 'No.344 "Clair de lune" relief-collage de pavatex peint et gravè, peinture â l'huile' (relief-collage of pavatex painted and engraved, oil paint). Made a year later than T03596, it does not employ collage. The relief elements of the composition are restricted to the outlines of the woman's physiognomy and dress. These are gouged into the soft board. The exclusion of materials like those found in T03596 relate 'Moonlight' to the artist's earlier 'Peinture' phase (1943-8). An elongated figure is set in a painted ground of brown and blue horizontal patches. It is painted, like many works of this period, on rough Pavatex board. The paint has been absorbed into the board and there are only a few areas of low impasto; in the horizontal white lines, top left, and the four vertical stripes of the woman's forehead.

No related drawings have been found for this work. The artist's widow writes:

My husband did very few preparatory drawings during the period 1943-1953: moss of his work was made spontaneously, directly onto the chosen materials. I have never possessed any original drawings or reproductions. The few still in existence are in the collection of the Kunstmuseum, Berne (letter dated 25 September 1986).

In a letter to the compiler dated 22 March 1988 the Kunstmuseum, Bern, confirm that no drawings to either T03595 or T03596 are in their collection.

The contours of the woman's dress, much elongated in comparison to the tiny head, have been gouged into the soft board. These gouges are of uneven width and are roughly 10mm deep. As the bottom right-hand corner of the image, the gouged line opens out to a gash of roughly 25mm width. Similar gashes, as well as elongation of the figures, can be seen in other works of this period, for instance 'Mother' 1947 (Kunstmuseum, Berne, repr., Berne 1982, p.47).

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, p.513

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