Between 1919 and 1932 Nils Dardel rented accommodation that doubled as a studio on 108 Rue Lepic in Paris. The apartment not only functioned as a place of work but was also a space for Nils and his wife Thora Dardel to socialise with their friends. Interesting cultural figures, artists, writers and models were frequent guests at the house.
Ukrainian Sonja Jablonska was seemingly not a central character in Nils and Thora’s circle of friends. But in Thora’s own writing it appears that she thought highly of Jablonska, which was not always the case when it came to Nils’ models. Thora writes in 'Modeller i blyerts (Models in Pencil) (1944)': “A brain not lacking substance was undoubtedly the one that belonged to that Ukrainian Sonja Jablonska, who came from God knows where, full of wit and energy, she modelled for a few drawings and one painting, before once again disappearing into the great city of Paris”.
In the present lot Sonja is portrayed in a leisurely pose with one of her breasts exposed, her hair is cut in a fashionable dark bob, and she looks like the epitome of the 1920’s ‘Garçonne’. She leans across the table in a relaxed manner and peers at the artist with a look that is at once sensual and amused. Dardel enjoyed painting strong, confident women and in his work there are several examples of this. The model paintings of the 1920s are characterised by an intimate naturalism and Dardel skilfully perceived the models’ unique traits. One can make out Sonja’s commanding presence in this portrait, with the contrasting colours of bright green and orange, so typical of Dardel’s work.
Signed Dardel and dated 1928. Canvas 60 x 82 cm. Estimate 800 000 – 1 000 000 SEK.