Pierre Ysern y Alié
The “painter of dancers

The ballet – circa 1910
Oil on canvas
Signed lower right
Dimensions: 60,5 x 73 cm, with frame: 79 x 91 cm
Price: 15,000 euros

“Ysern has eyes only for them… Already the girls swirl. They look like living flowers that quickly draw unknown figures in space… The projectors drown them in pink, then green, yellow light… […] Ysern suddenly started to paint. I observe him. His gaze embraces the scene with a quick glance and the colors flit across the stage.” André Payer, Revue littéraire, 1924.

This painting is the image of the painter’s affection for the dancers he paints: bright, lively and reciprocal. In the center, he grabs a dancer who, like a white flower, is about to make the petals of her petticoat twirl. Behind her, the painter sets the scene: he suggests two dancers, the curtain and the backstage with a spontaneous gesture. In the foreground, Ysern y Alié briefly signifies some musical instruments: the top of a harp, a cello… By doing so, he gives the spectator the impression of watching the dancers from the orchestra. The palette, vivid, detours the subjects in large colored masses. His pictorial mastery makes him a supporter of color rather than drawing.

In Paris, the painter had taken the habit of going to dance halls which, with the complicity of an usherette, opened a box for him. Inside, he pulled out his little box of painting materials and immediately went to work, while a dazzling firework display of a ballet of girls dazzled on the stage. “Like Toulouse-Lautrec, he likes to study the striking effects of contrast, the unforeseen relationships, the astonishing lightings that spread, suddenly pointed on a face, a pair of legs in movement, the raw and pallid light of a projector”, testifies André Payer.

Did Ysern Y Alié seek to continue the tradition of Degas? Georges Turpin, a friend and critic, answers negatively. In Catalonia, Alié defines himself as an impressionist who ignores himself. In Paris, he became aware of the affinity he had with a Renoir, a Pissaro or a Manet. Thereafter, he is classified as a Tachist.


  • Rafael Manzano, Pere Ysern i Alié 1875-1946, Diccionari Ràfols/edicions catalanes, Biblioteca Monografica de Arte Hispanica, Barcelona, 1990
  • In 1924, Georges Turpin devoted a brief biography to him: “Pere Ysern i Alié peintre de danseuses”, article of the literary and artistic Revue, Paris Georges Turpin, Pierre Ysern y Alié peintre de danseuses, Paris, 1924.
  • Rafael Manzano, Pere Ysern, Edicions Catalanes, Barcelona, 1990.
  • Froukje Hoekdtra, Toulouse-Lautrec, PML Editions for the French edition, Paris 1993.
  • Jacques Lassaigne, L’Impressionisme, sources et dépassement, 1859-1900, Skira, Geneva, 1974.
  • Patrick Weber, Histoire de l’art et des styles, Librio, 2005.

Exhibitions and important events

– 1888 : Universal Exhibition of Barcelona

  • 1919: National Exhibition of Fine Arts in Barcelona (Main works: Pedralles and Surroundings of Barcelona)
  • 1925 : Exhibition at the Daulmau Gallery in Barcelona
  • 1927: Exhibition at the Pinacoteca