10 April 2024

Artist Index / Full Catalogue

Rosalie, Costume Design for the Film ''Les amants de Montparnasse'' by Jacques Becker

◎§ 3. ANNENKOV, GEORGES (1889-1974)

Rosalie, Costume Design for the Film ''Les amants de Montparnasse'' by Jacques Becker, signed with initials, numbered "32" and titled.

Pencil, ink, coloured pencil and gouache on paper, 56.5 by 29.5 cm.
800-1,200 GBP

Executed c. 1958.

Provenance: Important private collection, Europe.

Theatre and cinema work remained one of Georges Annenkov’s most important pursuits during his long artistic career. He worked as a set and costume designer on over 70 stage and 50 film productions, producing thousands of sheets of remarkable sketches.

MacDougall’s presents a group of costume designs by Annenkov (Lots 1-5) created for the much-acclaimed film, Les Amants de Montparnasse or Montparnasse 19, about the life of artist Amedeo Modigliani. The film was directed by him with Max Ophüls. Annenkov, who had previously collaborated on several successful projects with Ophüls, including four successful feature films and one theatrical production, was invited to create the images of the main characters in the film by the great director himself. Later, in his biography of Ophüls, Annenkov recalled his experience: “Ophüls was one of those few directors who require that even the extras, the ‘crowd’, and the actors with walk-on parts should be selected according to the artist’s sketches. He did not think that the choice could be entrusted to an associate director or to his own assistants” (Y. Annenkov, Max Ophüls, Moscow, MIK, 2008).

The role of Modigliani was played by one of Annenkov’s old acquaintances, Gérard Philipe, whose portrait he had painted a few years before, while the part of Modigliani’s beloved Jeanne Hébuterne was taken by Anouk Aimée. Finding himself in such a friendly environment, Annenkov felt completely free. Moreover, since he was only five years younger than Modigliani and knew the artists of early-20th-century Montparnasse personally, Annenkov took on the role of the director’s artistic consultant. “It was a return to my youth, spent in Paris in 1911, 1912 and 1913,” the artist recalled. “It was the Montparnasse of my past. I met Modigliani many times during that turbulent time ... Max Ophüls did not know that Montparnasse, cosmopolitan and bustling ... that Montparnasse of former days, which was, for us artists, the crucible and cradle of the École de Paris, was unfamiliar to Ophüls” (ibid., p. 346). Following the director’s death, Jacques Becker finished shooting the film, but Annenkov would forever remember that working with Ophüls on Les Amants de Montparnasse was the most fascinating film project of his lifetime.

Notes on symbols:
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Ω Indicates 20% Import Duty Charge applies.
§ Indicates Artist's Resale Right applies.
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