André Derain (French, 18801954)
Oil on canvas; 26 x 39 in. (66 x 99.1 cm)
Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, 1998 (1999.363.18)
© 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Emulating a series of earlier works by Monet, in March 1906 Derain painted a series of views of London, where he had been sent by the art dealer Ambroise Vollard. Among the artist's fifteen or so scenes, the most striking are those of the Thames, in which he gave free rein to color, inventing red boats and painting the water green and yellow and the sky orange. In this view of Regent Street near Oxford Circle, his palette is more restrained, consisting primarily of subdued blues and strategically placed scarlets. Contemporary photographs of Regent Street show that Derain did not exaggerate. The street and sidewalks were jammed, the population of the city having reached nearly 400,000 at that time.