The Complete Works of Philippe Smit
by Andreas Narzt and Florence Castellani
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Photo: Studio Sebert; © FdDPS



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Classification: Pastel »
Theme: figurative »
Medium: Pastel »
Support: on cardboard »
Year(s): 1943 »
PS 504
Paris Spleen
Pastel on cardboard
33 1/2 x 25 13/16 in. (85 x 65 cm)
Signed upper left:Philippe Smit
On the back: pencil study of a man in profile.
Inv. Leteneur, n.d. [1977], n.p., s.n., private archives: no. [97], p. [10], palier - salon: Smit Philippe - 'Spleen de Paris'/ Pastel signé en haut à gauche, 82 x 64 [cm].
Geneviève Tambuté-Defarges (by descent)
No known exhibitions.
Literature & Primary Sources
Philippe Smit. ALS to Roger Capard. 27 January 1943.
"[…] depuis quelques jours je travail[le] à une/ composition d’un pastel qui me passionne/ beaucoup, Je crois que c’est un sujet dont/ je vous ai déjà parfois causé. Une Mansarde/ vue des hauteurs de Montmartre avec une/ figure méditative sur Paris, la couleur/ de la ville est d’un bleu profond violacé/ les nuages vert bronze avec des éclaircis très/ lumineux encadré par une fenêtre d’un/ rideau ocre rouge et vert olive très simple/ de ton, la figure est accoudé[e] droite et pensive/ vêtu[e] d’un châle rose lumineux et la jupe/ vert gris fané, dans le coin de la chambre/ un pridieu éclairé par une bougie, une petite/ table avec des fleurs et panier d’ouvrage./ L’art est un problème de difficulté, l’on/ commence avec espoir et l’on fini avec/ désespoir. […]" [sic] (... for several days I have been working on a composition in pastel about which I am passionate, I think I already talked to you about it. An attic room on the heights of Montmartre with a figure meditating over Paris, the color of the town is a deep violet blue, the clouds bronze green with very bright sunny spots, framed by a window with a red ochre and olive green curtain, very simple tones, on the right the pensive figure leaning [against the window] is dressed with a bright pink shawl, and the skirt is a bleached greyish-green, in the corner of the room a praying stool lit with a candle, a small table with flowers and a work basket. Art is an issue of difficulties, one starts with hope and finishes with despair. ...) (Philippe Smit 1943)

Except for two letters (private archives, Paris), there is no more information on Roger Capard, a civil servant of the Vichy government and his wife Raymonde. This circumstantial relationship developed during the visit to Pau by Philippe Smit and Berendina Hubscher-Urban. This relationship certainly facilitated the return of the couple and of Lotty to Thoury-Ferrottes in 1943 (see Chronology). A friendship remained between Lotty and Raymonde, who separated from Capard after the war.

Record last updated May 3, 2017. Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
Citation: Narzt, Andreas and Castellani, Florence. "Paris Spleen, 1943 (PS 504)." The Complete Works of Philippe Smit. (accessed on September 26, 2021).