Portrait of Dina
1940, oil on canvas
Why is this work so important?
This painting attests to Dina Vierny’s participation in the Resistance movement. She joined a clandestine network and this red dress was her trademark attire.
The time is 1940 and what was to become World War II had broken out a few months earlier. Maillol took refuge in his birthplace, Banyuls-sur-Mer and it was there that Dina told him the truth about her night-time activity. At which point Maillol decided to execute this beautiful portrait of Dina Vierny in that signature red dress.
The young woman he had met several years previously posed for him in his workshop, fitted out in an old barn. Her pensive, almost stiff, pose, seen in profile, is reminiscent of the series of portraits that Maillol painted in his early years. Dina looks exhausted. Her participation in the Resistance movement placed her at great risk and exhausted her.The young woman drop off to sleep during the long hours spent posing.
In this very reflective portrait, the luminous colour of Dina’s red dress forms a strong contrast with the green of the background.
Did you know?
Maillol’s muse for a decade, Dina Vierny is represented with her hair arranged in a pigtail. The young woman can be seen wearing the pigtail in many photographs from the time and was always painted with it by the artist.