Adolphe Jules PÉTERELLE

“The Bathers” circa 1920; an expressionist and dreamlike painting.

Oil on canvas signed lower left
Dimensions: 65 x 54 cm,
with frame: 88.5 x 78 cm
Management of Dury & Morel- 23 rue Auguste Comte, Lyon
Price: 3800 euros

Adolphe Jules Péterelle delivers an ode to freedom and femininity.

Bathers sketching synchronized dance steps out of the water. A deep blue climate that creates a deep, intense and mysterious atmosphere. Thunder could burst from this sky, and the orange silhouettes of these ladies stand out against the dark background.

They bask at their ease, in and out of the water, proposing a few movements with their arms, keeping their bodies upright and standing in the water. Clouds appear in the sky, echoing the foam or whitish froth of the water in the foreground.

A dreamlike dimension emerges from this painting, whose composition is an ode to freedom and femininity. It’s exclusively women who stand before us, adding a touch of sensuality to the picture.


French painter and draughtsman, active in Switzerland and France

In 1886, Adolphe Péterelle decided to become a painter: he attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Geneva from 1887 to 1891. He moved to Paris at the age of seventeen. In 1898, animal painter Henri Deluermoz welcomed him to his studio. In 1900, he moved to the Bateau-Lavoir, where he met Steinlen, Aristide Bruant and Picasso. From 1900 to 1904, he worked at the pottery decoration factory in Choisy-le-Roi, where he met Émile Lenoble, who supplied designs to the pottery. Their friendship would last forty years. Around 1809-1809, he settled permanently in Cité Falguière. With sculptor Joseph Bernard, he studied the theme of dance at length.

He was a solitary artist, with a mystical temperament, and did nothing to publicize his work, even though his artistic output was considerable. He depicted people in their daily occupations, hinting at their inner thoughts and feelings (washerwomen, girl playing tambourine, musician, cellist). He also liked to depict women (nudes, bathing women, dancers) and produced a large number of drawings using a variety of techniques – pencil, Indian ink, red chalk, gouache.

Péterelle has taken part in group shows at the Salon des Indépendants, the Salon d’Automne and the Salon des Tuileries. He also held solo exhibitions in Paris: Galerie Bernheim (1930), Galerie Charpentier (1938) and Galerie de France (1942). In 1952, a major retrospective of his work (106 paintings and 74 drawings) was held at the Musée Galliera.


– “Péterelle, Adolphe”, Bénézit, Oxford Art Online, October 31, 2011

– Adolphe Péterelle (1874 -1947), Paris, Musée Galliéra (November 12-30, 1952), 1952


. In Paris: Centre Pompidou, musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris, fond régional d’art contemporain de la ville de Paris

. In France: Musée des Beaux-Arts de Grenoble, Centre National des Arts Plastiques.

. Abroad: New York: MOMA.