A terrific and powerful example of Dorignac’s sculpture-like drawings in black. This impressive face of a woman condenses all the major and singular characteristics of Dorignac’s graphic work: the tight frame, the monumentality, the black color, the volume and the dignity given to anonymous working figures. The tenebrous faces of women rising from the golden paper where called “faces of night” by the author Marie-Claire Mansencal. In the present sheet, Dorignac captures a woman whose firm features are modelled through a masterful use of deep black chalk and ink wash painting. The materials were used very freely like always in Dorignac works of art. The physical presence of the woman advocates for a stand-alone piece rather than a study. Another drawing, presumably of the same feminine model, with a low bun and a hair ribbon, called Margot, was bought from the artist by the collector Gaston Meunier du Houssoy (Private coll.).
However, the two drawings were designed from different angles, as if the draughtsman had been turning around the model to apprehend its three-dimensional volumes as for a sculpture. By doing so, he could have rendered the monumentality and the light effects on the surface of the head as if it was a bronze bust. Indeed, the truly sculptural dimension of Dorignac’s drawings is undeniable and was noticed immediately by his contemporaries. Auguste Rodin was reported to have admired his works and declared to Meunier du Houssoy: “Dorignac sculpts his drawing. […] He has sculptor’s hands”.