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Alice Bailly

Nature morte aux mimosas, 1911
oil on canvas
73.0 x 60.0 cm
This still life, a cubist motif par excellence, exhibits the modern trends that nurtured Alice Bailly’s pictorial output during her stay in Paris prior to the first world war. Indeed it reflects the degree to which the artist succeeded in assimilating the avant-garde movements of the time. The cubist treatment can be seen in the fragmenting of the image into a mosaic of shapes, thus breaking with the idea of a single point of view as it had prevailed since the Renaissance.

Unlike Braque or Picasso, whose canvases were criticised by Delaunay as being ‘spider webs’, Bailly doesn’t reduce her palette to ochre and green tonalities; rather she employs vivid colours like yellow, orange and violet, in the style of the colourist cubists Jean Metzinger and Fernand Léger.

In a dialogue of complementary forms, the different elements of this still life opt for either the round (in the bottle necks, vase, fruit, glass and table), or the cubic (in the foliage and background). With this contrast the artist creates a form of visual music that unfolds in the transparent reflections of the glass containers whilst honouring the artist’s second passion, music.
Alice Bailly, Nature morte aux mimosas, 1911