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Nymph and Hind

1925
Marie Laurencin, French, 1883 - 1956

This painting echoes Marie Laurencin’s scenery and costumes for Les Biches (The House Party), a one-act ballet set to music by the composer François Poulenc, which was premiered in 1924 by the Ballets Russes dance company. This modern ballet had no story beyond the interaction of fashionable young women and their male suitors at a party in the south of France. The music, choreography, and visual design drew upon the fête galante (or courtship party), a genre closely associated with the painter François Boucher in French art of the 1700s. In fêtes galantes, women are depicted as nymphs (nature spirits) or muses (personifications of artistic inspiration) and men as shepherds or courtiers as they together enjoy the pleasures of music, dancing, and love in idyllic landscape settings. Laurencin’s 1925 painting portrays a flute-playing nymph with a leaping female deer (or hind, which is also a French term for “young woman” or “darling”) at her side.

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Object Details

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