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The Lady of the Cliffs, 1927
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fine art painting

Raymond Moritz

French ( b.1891 - d.1950 )

The Lady of the Cliffs, 1927

  • Oil on canvas
  • Signed lower left

Image size 25 inches x 20.7 inches ( 63.5cm x 52.5cm )
Frame size 29.3 inches x 24.8 inches ( 74.5cm x 63cm )

£7,895.00

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Available for sale from Big Sky Fine Art in the English county of Dorset, this original oil painting is by the French artist Raymond Moritz and dates from 1927. The painting is presented and supplied in a sympathetic contemporary frame (which is shown in these photographs), mounted with new fixtures.
The canvas and the painted surface have benefitted from cleaning and conservation, which was performed on our instruction, supervision and approval.
This vintage painting is now in very good condition. It wants for nothing and is supplied ready to hang and display.
The painting is signed lower left.
A later dedication to “Louise” dated April 1942 in the artist’s hand is set around the earlier signing.

Raymond Moritz was a French impressionist artist and illustrator. He was born in Paris on 8 July 1891. His family came from the Alsace region and were poor and Catholic. On his mother’s side, the Staubs were from Wihr-au-Val where they had been coopers for several generations. His uncle, Marie Clement Staub, was the founder in Canada of the Sisters of Saint Joan of Arc.

Moritz fought during the Great War in the Picardy region of the Somme with the 2nd machine gunner company. He won the French 1914-1918 War medal with bronze palm attachment, which signifies that the awardee was mentioned in dispatches at army level. Moritz obviously created some art during the war because during the inauguration of the new town hall in the town of Albert he was congratulated by the French President, Albert Lebrun, and the British press for the paintings he had produced. Albert was the main town behind the lines for the Allies on the Somme battle fields; it was devastated during the war and rebuilt afterwards.

From 1942-1944, Moritz hid a Jewish doctor, shielding him from roundups and deportation. This was obviously an extremely brave thing for him to do and would have put his own life at considerable risk.
Although he was married, Moritz never had biological children of his own. However, it is known that he adopted two little orphans, daughters of a friend who died prematurely.

Moritz died at his home in Paris on April 12, 1950, following a painful illness, as reported in the national daily newspapers. His funeral took place at the Saint-Philippe-du-Roule church where his friend Father Roger Gichardan, director of Le Pelerin (a French weekly news magazine) and future novelist at Editions du Masque under the name of Jacques Ouvard, delivered his funeral eulogy. Moritz is now buried in the Parisian cemetery of Saint-Owen.

Moritz is known as both an artist and illustrator. As an illustrator he contributed to the Parisian publication Le Pelerin throughout the 1920s and 1930s, and the magazine L’Illustration. He was the first illustrator of the character of Jules Maigret by Georges Simenon, whose short stories were published in the press before the volume edition. He also illustrated various other series of short stories by Simenon.

As an artist Moritz created a visual record of aspects of the First World War in the Picardy region where he fought. He brough back sketches from Assevillers, Dompierre-Becquincourt and Berny-en-Santerre, from which paintings were later produced. He later painted in Spain, Poland, the Netherlands and of course his beloved Alsace. His style was quite Orientalist, making wonderful use of light and perspective. His works were regularly exhibited at the Salon d’Hiver from 1923 to 1941. He also exhibited at the Salon de L’ecole Francaise, the Salon des Humouristes and the Charpentier Gallery.

Moritz is also the creator of a number of large frescos, including a Descent from the Cross in the church at Saint-Vincent, and an ensemble dedicated to Joan of Acr in the chapel at Beaulieu-les-Fontaines, Oise. He also produced a set of magnificent large frescos in the office of the house of Doctor Eugene Fernet (18, Rue de Birmingham, Albert). These depicted scenes from the Great War, five of which were later published as postcards. He also played a part in the reconstruction of the town hall at Albert.

Everything that is known about this man does him credit; he was a truly brave, compassionate and talented man who left a lasting legacy.

© Big Sky Fine Art

This amazing original oil on canvas depicts a young woman seated on the edge of a grassy cliff overlooking a turquoise blue coastline. She is sitting on a white cloth and is completely naked, save for the red headband she is tying around her cropped auburn hair. She is facing away from the viewer, looking out to sea. Far below we see a small area of sandy beach, and various rocky outcrops. The sea is calm, and it is obviously a sunny day. This is a time of peace and liberation.
In the bottom left section of the painting there is a dedication by the artist: ‘A Louise bien affectionement, R. Moritz, Avril 1942’. It is likely that the painting was given as a gift by the artist at this time, but the work was actually created much earlier, in 1927, which is the date on the back of the canvas.
The painting is very much in the style of modern works created by artists in the 1920s, and is, for its time, a very daring work. It is reminiscent of a similar work entitled “The Bather” by Thomas Martine-Ronaldson (1881-1942), which is part of the permanent collection at the Russell Cotes Art Gallery and Museum in Bournemouth, UK. The young woman (in both of these works) has short hair, which would have been quite a daring and modern fashion at the time, and sitting naked on a clifftop is also an extremely liberated act! Now almost 100 years old, this wonderful work by Moritz is clean, stylish and simply stunning.