Charles Paul Reynold Barraud – Le Buveur, 1944
Oil on masonite
75 x 67 cm
Charles Paul Reynold Barraud (1897-1997) was born in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the eldest of four brothers. All of them were artists and influenced the art scene in Neuchâtel with their work. Particularly characteristic of Charles' oeuvre are the emotions and experiences that his works contain, and which unfold to the viewer when looking at them in detail. In constant search of new challenges and with the aim of improving his expertise, Barraud explored a wide range of techniques and styles. As a result, his entire oeuvre appears very heterogeneous, while simultaneously being emblematic of his passion and his tireless joy in experimentation.
In addition to landscape scenes and nature motifs, Barraud devoted himself increasingly to portraiture in the 1940s. He painted several self-portraits at this time, including Le Buveur (The Drinker), in which the artist presents himself in a gloomy interior with an expression of melancholy. On the table in front of him, a bowl with a piece of bread and a glass filled with a dark liquid, which refers to the title of the work, are carefully arranged. The scenery is kept in cool shades of blue, grey and green and lends emphasis to the predominantly heavy, thought-lost and almost downcast mood in the painting.
By exclusively using coloured areas and thus avoiding a clear outline, Barraud creates a certain blurriness, which contributes decisively to the melancholic atmosphere and emphasises the oppressive emptiness of the room. In the choice of motifs as well as the colour scheme, an orientation towards Pablo Picasso's works of the Blue Phase can also be identified.