Portrait of Madame Bonjean, 1931 signed in Latin and inscribed 'Paris 1931' (lower right) graphite and coloured pencil on paper 25.5 x 20.4cm (10 1/16 x 8 1/16in).
The angular line of the sitter's face and the stylized central parting of her hair suggest comparisons with other portraits of Mme. Bonjean, notably two portraits in oils of the same year, one with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston MA, the other with MoMA, New York (see: Alexander Kuznetsov, Pavel Tchelitchew/ Metamorphoses, Stuttgart, 2012, plates 116 and 117). In the execution of the Madame Bonjean portraits, James Thrall Soby writes 'Here he was aided by that control of line which not even his most persistent detractors have been able to deny' (Tchelitchew/ Paintings. Drawings, Museum of Modern Art, New York, October 1942, p.22). In addressing the complexities of portraying a sitter with immediacy and expressiveness, Tchelitchew, in the offered lot, explores the possibilities of shading and shadow as a means of definition.