Promenade
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Promenade

Catherine Roseberry

enamel paint on wood

45" x 44" x 24"

 

Memories of a story told by my grade-school Spanish teacher surround this Art Deco chest of drawers. The señora described the custom in her hometown of the promenade, where, in the public setting of the plaza, clusters of young men and young women without chaperones would walk all through the evening, furtively studying romantic possibilities.

These discreet theatrics find their way to the front of this chest in the depiction of two couples strolling in opposite directions. The women, heads together as if in conversation, look slyly sidewise at the passing men, who in turn eye the women going by. The distinctive horizontal drawer pulls of the piece lay across the scene, reminiscent of half-opened slats of Venetian blinds. It is as if the viewer is granted a voyeuristic peek on to this mating game.

The tone of the painting on the chest is influenced by the style of the Art Deco period. Sources examined when developing the artwork include the decorative paintings of Jean Dupas and other artists of this time, particularly Diego Rivera and Tamara de Lempicka. The sides and top, covered in patternwork, are reminiscent of metalwork designs by Edgar Brandt and Jean Dunand.

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