Dragonette has uncovered a stash of amazing drawings made by Jean Negulesco from the 1950s through the ’70s. Jean (1900 – 1993) was Romanian-born, but became a painter in Vienna and then a stage decorator in Paris. He moved to NY in 1927 for an exhibition of his paintings, and in 1934 entered the film industry as a sketch artist. Ultimately, Jean became a very successful director. He was nominated for an Academy Award, and directed some of the biggest movies of his time including “How To Marry a Millionaire” starring Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall and Betty Grable.
A painter first, Jean sketched wonderfully lyrical portraits of people throughout his life. Most of the drawings are on the same sized paper, which suggests that he must have had a sketch pad on him at all times waiting for time and inspiration. The drawings I saw at Dragonette are made with either pencils or crayons and overdrawn with marker. What’s sensational about the drawings to me is the uninterrupted line he employs. I don’t think he ever picked up his marker. There aren’t even any heavy deposits of ink which would suggest a pause in his stroke — just one continuously smooth line. Further, he perfectly places his subjects in the negative space of the paper. I’m envious of his grasp of space.
Dragonette has a large grouping of his works on display (similar to the picture shown above of Negulesco’s own stairway,) which are stunning. Together the power of these exciting works is amplified.
The drawings almost all measure 31″ H x 22″ W. Dragonette has had them on display for just a few weeks and they’re getting a fantastic response. Designers from both coasts are snapping them up. “People really love them. They want to buy them all” says Scott Roberts, the showroom’s manager. Sounds like the beginning of a nascent new market. Don’t be surprised if you start hearing the name Jean Negulesco about town. The drawings are priced at $2,500 each. Get ‘em while you can, or at least go and check them out.
Dragonette 711 N La Cienega Blvd 323.855.9091