Before a Café, Paris 1907

After moving to Paris in 1907 the cafes, bars and parks near Fergusson's studio in Montparnasse provided an endless source of fascination. He both painted and sketched in them and quickly formed a close circle of Anglo-American friends with whom he discussed the latest artistic developments.

The treatment of the subject is deliberately sketchy, making use of partial outlining in dark red and leaving areas of the white, primed board exposed. The lack of concern for detail is typical of the simplification which was so essential to Fauve methods.

Rather than creating an illusion of the depth or space in the street, Fergusson stresses the patterns created by the facades of the buildings, with a frieze-like arrangement of figures occupying the foreground. The strong colour enhances the decorative mood further.

  • Material/Medium: oil paint on board
  • Date: 1907
  • Creator: John Duncan Fergusson (1874-1961)
  • Accession number: 1992.205
  • Category: Fine Art
  • Subject: n/a