Jeanne was the common-law wife of Amedeo and also a painter in her own right. She was a beautiful young woman who was aptly described by the author Charles Albert-Cingria as “gentle, shy, quiet and delicate”. This description could as easily be applied to the painting as the subject.
The painting portrays Jeanne as a young and beautiful woman; her expression is one of calm but in a way that couldn’t be represented as sullen, rather inviting and warm.
The artist has carefully used colour to bring warmth and depth to the painting. The expressionist painter has as ever painted from the heart creating a picture that encapsulates the personality of the subject rather than just a photographic image, highlighting the warmth of the subject with the splashes of bold colour.
Her thick brown hair and pale pallor are illuminated by the use of colourful lipstick. The background also adds vibrancy with a solid grey wall being set against a bright amber and orange wall.
Jeanne is seated and her clothing whilst traditional, is again brought to life with the rich red colour applied to her blouse. As is common with expressionist art and a key characteristic of the artist’s output the subject is represented with almond shaped eyes and an elongated neck and head, none of which detracts from her obvious beauty.
The expression on her face reflects the description “gentle, shy, quiet and delicate”. Jeanne’s delicateness is further emphasised by her gait and slim figure.
There is a tragic reality that lies behind the love between painter and subject that is so beautifully captured in this work of art. Amedeo sadly died from TB in 1920, an event that led Jeanne to jump to her death that very same day.
However, such tragedy cannot detract from the fact that Jeanne’s beauty and personality lives on in this painting and the other portraits painted by her lover.