Artwork Analysis > To the discovery of a work by Bernard Réquichot

To the discovery of a work by Bernard Réquichot

Bernard Réquichot, Untitled, 1952, pencil with gouache wash on ochre paper, 56 x 44 cm


This work by Bernard Réquichot was done in 1952 when the artist was 23 years old.

On a neutral orange-ochre background a silhouette, naked, partially on its knees, takes form in a pensive posture.  It occupies almost the whole space.

The left knee is folded, placed on the ground while the left arm firmly holds the ankle.  The right arm is posed on the right knee, also bent, and carries the weight of the hairless head.  The right foot, a wash of white gouache, suggests the ground, or at least a palpable surface.

Behind the right leg, one sees another leg, folded evoking a totally knee bent posture of the protagonist.  Réquichot seems here to signify movement: the person who was on his knees has finally lifted his leg in order to put his elbow on it.

The face of this puzzling individual seems to be plunged in thought.

Our eye is intrigued by an evidence:  The artist voluntarily lets the grid of the work’s construction appear, as if it was actually an anatomical study.

Réquichot stresses the construction of the work, but also insists on the resonance of the right grids with the very geometric muscularity of the subject.  This muscularity is drawn in pencil, then underlined with a white gouache wash creating contrasts with luminous effects making certain muscles stand out.  The artist lays out a sculptural architecture of the body, a stylized anatomy.

This composition is intriguing.  Is it a man or a woman?  Or a hybrid being, half-man, half-woman?  And what is it thinking about?

Of which Réchiquot  wrote: “an artist, a painter, a revolutionary worth his name must be an individualist, and in the modern world more than ever”?