Auguste
CHABAUD

(1882 - 1955)

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L'alguazil, circa 1909

Oil on cardboard, stamped lower left.
76 x 52 cm

Provenance : 
From the artist estate
Private collection, South of France 

Exhibitions:
Auguste Chabaud et le taureau sacré, Musée Auguste Jacquet, Beaucaire, 29 June - 16 September 2013, illustrated in the catalogue on p.94.
Fauvisme et modernité en Provence, Galerie Alexis Pentcheff, Marseille, 15 February - 15 March 2014, illustrated in the catalogue on p.77.

Certificate of authenticity established by Mr. Patrice Leoni, great grandson of the artist, dated November 7, 2021.


Chabaud has kept from his childhood a marvelous admiration for costumes and uniforms. His work continually translates it, whether in Paris, Tunisia or Provence. The military pomp and circumstance fascinates him in particular. It was with the hope of wearing the colorful costume of the spahi that he joined the colonial artillery. Almost excluding the martial dimension of these icons, Chabaud focuses his attention on the detail of the clothing, the gleam of the embroidery, the association of colors. 

As for the spahis and zouaves who pass through Paris, they have a good time in cafés, meeting houses, at the new Magic City amusement park. Chabaud presents the spahis in these moments of relaxation, while they have kept their uniforms, improbable appearance of the bloomers, the blue embroidered vest and the rigid red chechia in the modern Western city. "The spahis, it is not militarism, it is art. Thus they will enter the pantheon of figures dear to the artist. 

Back in Graveson, the artist will find other opportunities to be enthusiastic about the costumes. Village life, civil or religious, provided him with colorful archetypes. Arlésiennes, shepherds, nuns and priests are invited on the canvas, brightening up these hours of rural life. 
The free race and the bullfight, traditional of his region of origin, still provide the artist with the spectacle of exuberant characters, whose clothing appearance translates this time the passion of the discipline, the adhesion to the cult of the bull, this profane and popular cult, codified like a liturgy and which takes place in the secular arena. 

"The Alguazil" is one of the paintings dedicated to this theme, representing one of the actors of the bullfight easily recognizable by his costume, inherited from the Spanish tradition. Dressed in black, the alguazil is the policeman of the arena, in charge of giving the start of the race and notifying its end. Chabaud depicts him as an important figure, with the haughty look of a notable underlined by a proud moustache whose line echoes that of the ceremonial hat. He is flanked by an arenero with a red beret, in the background and smaller, reinforcing the stature of the first character. Above them, the public in the stands prepares to follow the race.
The modernity of this work with raw tones, is accentuated by the formal treatment, the artist willingly let appear the material of the support behind the characters.  

This series of works on the theme of arenas is reminiscent of the artist's work on the theme of the circus, done while he was still living in Paris. Back in his native Provence, Chabaud turned to the bullring as an inexhaustible theater of motifs and exuberant characters to paint.