After the ball

Jan Van Beers

After the ball
Oil on canvas signed lower left 
Dimensions : 
141 x 251 cm / 55.51 x 98.82 inch
Dimensions with frame : 
179 x 290 cm / 70.47 x 114.17 inch

Description of the artwork

Après le bal is a striking example of Van Beers's work during the Parisian years. In 1886 it was exhibited in London, at the Salon Parisien in New Bond Street, as The Awakening Beauty. It was also part of Van Beers's solo-show at the Galerie Durand-Ruel in 1888, now with its present title. The highly suggestive subject of the painting was shocking to the eyes of many contemporary critics. The painting shows a beautiful young woman stretched out on a furry couch, her sumptuous ball dress carelessly thrown aside, her shoes and light-blue silk stockings on the ground in front of her, next to a book with a yellow cover and what seems to be a green cigarette purse. The woman's nakedness is emphasised by her pearl choker necklace and the bracelets on her arms. A magnificent feathery fan is attached by a string to one of her bracelets, as if she may still need to cool herself with it. The woman shamelessly meets our gaze with one eye and even seems to stretch out an elegant foot in our direction. There can be little doubt as to what she is: she is a beautiful and seductive coquette, literally shown here as a grande horizontale who has returned from a ball, where she must have attracted as much attention as she does in the painting. Après le bal is more than a titillating depiction of a Parisian demi-mondaine, however. It is also an aesthetic, almost Whistlerian colour experiment. The painting's restrained colour scheme has an extremely limited range: apart from the dark patches on the rug on the couch, colours range from a very pale type of yellow to a soft kind of pink, punctuated only by the green of the purse, the bright yellow of the book cover, the light-blue of the stockings and the red of the woman's mouth. Van Beers was very particular about the sensorial effect the painting would create. At the Salon Parisien in London, where the painting was one of the eye-catchers, it was hung in an especially designed dark alcove, framed by dark green hangings and spotlit from above with an electrical light behind a stretched piece of pink paper.


Private collection,Spain


London, Salon Parisien, 1886, as The Awakening Beauty.
Paris, Gallery Durand-Ruel, Spring 1888

Available artworks

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