James Wilson




Titre: "Woman at a Café (Riva degli Schiavoni"
Huile sur panneau de bois
c. 1901
Format: 7 1/2 x 10  pouces  (19 x  25.5 cm)
Catalogue raisonné Morrice -cat. EV.P.24 - Lucie Dorais
Collection privée , France  
Prix sur demande / Asking price

James Wilson Morrice Venise


Reproduction: page 122 (cat.87) 
James Wilson Morrice: Paintings and Drawings of Venice
James Wilson Morrice Venice
Woman at a Café (fig.87), provides a rare glimpse of the view from inside the Caffè Orientale. Its ochre-and-red striped curtain and hairpin chairs were standard issue for cafés along the Riva degli Schiavoni, as seen in period photographs, but the Orientale was particular favourite for foreign artists. The illusionistic strong curve of the buildings along the eastern reach of the Riva that extends to the Public Gardens also locates the site, as seen in  Morrice's other painting of places on the promenade and the Molo.
Here, he is diagonally across from a women who could be a middle-class visitor or a more prosperous popolana, dressed in a plain outfit and hat. The scale of the figure and furnishings gives this part of the image a singular intimacy and a somewhat rare close-up view of a women not wearing a shawl. Although she looks steadily in his direction, with her hand supporting her chin (an unusually specific gesture in his Venetian works), the women' identity remains unknown; perhaps it was the popular café that brought them together. Only one section of the café curtains is shown, but a cropped chair to the right and the dark shadow along the pavement imply the width of the Orientale and reinforce the difference of scale between near and far.
In the middle of the promenade and typically off-center, a young popolana walks in Morrice's direction. With her simple skirt repeating colours of the café curtain, her plain shawl contrats with the mutton-sleeved blouse of the older  woman. At the same time, the popolana's topknot hairstyle mimics the layered headpiece worn by the matronly figure. Along with the emphatic open space around the popolana, the angled hairpin chairs also point in her direction, bringing her even closer to the  orientale café.
Behind the popolana, the Riva is edged by numerous boats of all shapes and in sizes, heaped onto the bare wood of the panel. The simple mooring dock on the right offsets the heavier curtains of the café, as each defines the limits of their own space. Morrice reinforced the extended curve of the  Riva  by pairing trees and stone architecture, which are joined by the loop of the water. The Bacino and the dazzlingly white sky share the parallel brushwork that rightens the angular viewpoint of the rest of the vista along the Riva degli Schiavoni.
One again, a thin lamppost ties together the planes and places of the image even as it leans toward the café curtains, which slants in the opposite direction and further encloses Morrice's unspoken narrative.
- Sandra Paikowsky, Professor, Department of Art History, Concordia University. Author of  "James Wilson Morrice: Paintings and Drawings of Venice"

“James Wilson Morrice’s Corner of the Doge’s Palace, Venice is one of his most compelling images of the city. Seated at an outdoor table at the Gran Caffè Chioggia, by the steps of the Marciana Library, Morrice encapsulated the sensations of a Venetian afternoon through his empathy with the subject and his own pleasure in painting…The immediacy of the image and its heightened specificity of place derive from his intuitive and bold imposing of a design on one of the world’s most celebrated vistas.” – Sandra Paikowsky, Professor, Department of Art History, Concordia University.
This proposed work. "Woman at a Café (Riva degli Schiavoni" will be included in the James Wilson Morrice catalogue raisonné being compiled by Lucie Dorais.
Mme Dorais  mentioned  " Morrice use large panel like this painting in 1901-1906, and  in Venezia is twelve only for two travel in the city in 1901 and 1902.
Un coin du Palais des Doges  of Art Gallery of Hamilton (oil on wood panel, 6 7/8 x 10 po, 17,3 x 25,2 cm) are made in the same blue sky, and probably in same travel.


View of the Riva degli Schiavoni from the Molo to the Public Gardens 1860s. Enclosure of Caffè Orientale at center left.


Riva degli Schiavoni, Venice, Italy (front of postcard) c. 1904
Riva degli Schiavoni, Venice, Italy (front of postcard) c. 1910
Riva degli Schiavoni, Venice, Italy (b&w photo) c. 1926
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