Alice Bailly moved from Geneva to Paris in 1906. She settled in rue Boissonade, a cul de sac that was already home to a number of artists and intellectuals from her native region, including Alexandre Blanchet and Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz. Her visits to exhibitions, particularly the autumn salon, sparked enthusiasm for the light-filled paintings of the Fauvists: Henri Matisse, Georges Braque and André Derain caught her eye above all. Their works inspired her to use lighter, brighter colours and more powerful brush strokes in her own work, laying the paint down more expressively.
The rapid change in Bailly’s style is apparent in this garden painting, dominated by pink hues. The artist sought inspiration in a local oasis of greenery, the garden of the Enfants-Assistés children’s home overlooked by the houses along the rue Boissonade. At the far end of the grounds, a group of children and the women watching over them are shown walking in a circle along the wall of the monastery of the Visitation. The painting owes its impact to the high-angle viewpoint which then flattens into layered fore-, mid-, and backgrounds while maintaining the reduction in scale as the field deepens. Equally powerful is the free-handed, swift application of paint fleshing out the volumes in small dabs and the broad sweeps of the contours. The most striking aspect is the dazzling use of almost pure colours, heightened by the sharp contrast between the warm pinks and yellows and the chilly whites, greens, and ultramarine blue. This painting is the first to showcase pink as the artist’s signature colour, five years before La fantaisie équestre de la Dame en rose (Equestrian Fantasy of the Woman in Pink, 1913, Lausanne, Collection d’art BCV).
Exposé actuellementThe Collection
Paul-André Jaccard, Alice Bailly. La fête étrange, exh. cat. Lausanne, Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Milan, 5 Continents Editions, 2005: n. 16.