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Julien Adolphe Duvocelle (Lille 1873 - 1961 Corbeille)

Portrait of Lucien Boulnois (1887 - 1953)

Charcoal and stump
45 x 36.5 cm
Dated and signed lower right: XII J Duvocelle

After starting his career with the painter Pharaon de Winter in Lille, Duvocelle went to Paris to the École des Beaux-Arts and joined the studio of the portraitist Léon Bonnat. He took part in the Salon des artistes français from 1897. From then on, his artistic direction seemed to bring him closer to the Symbolist school. The titles of the works he presented bear witness to this: A Widow(1901), Lassitude (1902), Waiting (1903), The Worrier (1908), Meditation (1909), and Resignation (1914). He also developed a taste for morbid subjects, where skulls with bulging eyes featured in macabre scenes, such as in the drawing preserved in the Musée d'Orsay[1]. In comparison, many of his portraits, perhaps at the request of their patrons, are strongly anchored in realism and in that draw on the lessons from his masters. But he also very often imbues them with his pronounced
taste for introspection. The elusive gaze of the subject here, Lucien Boulnois, professor at the Clermont-Ferrand Conservatory of Music, is a beautiful example of this.This very personal work found only a limited success with the public and his name gradually disappeared from the artistic scene after the end of the First World War. This explains in part the difficulty that one may encounter today in documenting his career, and each work that reappears helps to fuel the rediscovery of a particularly endearing corpus.

[1] Skull with bulging eyes and hands clinging to a wall, pencil and
charcoal, 36 x 25 cm

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