Re-reading Laurencin
Vivienne Worn

To begin
There is Marie Laurencin (1883 – 1956), the great Parisian painter of women in soft pinks, greys and pale hues. During her lifetime, Laurencin was the most successful female artist of the French avant-garde with an international career that spanned over forty years. She was known as a painter of the feminine, a role she chose for herself and cultivated through her specific, voluptuous aesthetic of pastel colours and curvilinear forms, as well as through thematic explorations of what she considered feminine. Throughout history, her paintings have been both championed and derided for their grace and purity, their criticality and singularity seemingly obscured by their unusual commercial success.

An encounter
Held behind glass in the General Library’s Special Collections is The Garden Party and Other Stories, by Katherine Mansfield. A novel connection can be felt through Laurencin’s delicate coloured lithographs which illustrate the text.

Re-reading Laurencin
A conversation of sorts is opened through close-reading of marks made by Laurencin. Through abstraction there is a mingling with drawn details of the lithographs, before stretching out, testing the new possibilities held within these small moments.

To lean in, then paint.

Many thanks to Stephen Innes and the staff of Special Collections at the University of Auckland.

vivienneworn5-4dc95a9245731a00c962f75eeb023282
vivienneworn1-3d4324e29b0a88ffe4aec9bc438af48e
vivienneworn2-8256a0dffeb7706e5321d67702ab0e34
vivienneworn3-ed80dcc8a3ce8e617038054a9b4a00d2
vivienneworn4-fe3e583c5f16272ecfc0b77712d7177d
vivienneworn7-7f6ca33893816a7f8d55e54782271687
vivienneworn8-a721e0e99bebc9d761143d19b1138083
laurencin-7e96299686e06bc224a5825580334c88

Photo credit: Joe Dowling