BARBIER, George (1882-1932); [MAISON WORTH]
Watercolour and gouache on paper, 220 x 170 mm, signed and dated 1921 lower right; fine condition; archivally matted.
Original design for the Parisian couturier Maison Worth.
George Barbier is regarded as one of the greatest French illustrators of the early twentieth century, and a master of Art Déco design. His rich, flamboyant style was perfectly suited to theatre and ballet costume design as well as to haute couture fashion illustration. In addition to collaborating with the Ballets Russes he worked alongside Erté in designing sets and costumes for the Folies Bergère. He also designed jewellery for Cartier. A major retrospective of Barbier’s work was staged at the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice in 2008-09. (The English language edition of the exhibition catalogue, George Barbier: The Birth of Art Déco, was published in 2009 by Rizzoli, New York).
This stunning original design for Maison Worth was reproduced as plate 68 in the Gazette du Bon Ton, no. 9, 1921, where it was titled Psyché. It depicts the mortal woman of Greek mythology before her transformation into a divine figure, as she holds aloft her lamp to illuminate her (hitherto unseen) future lover and husband, Eros.