Vine and wine

Jean Dupas (Bordeaux, 1882 – Paris, 1964)
Oil on canvas, 306 x 840 cm. Inv. 74.31.2

This canvas by Jean Dupas celebrates the most emblematic of the economic resources of Bordeaux and its region: vines and wine. Notes in the artist's hand on a preparatory sketch (a gouache on paper) indicate the name of the allegories composing this long frieze of characters. From left to right:  joy, power, spirit, the call, wine, men (bottom centre), the invitation, the harvest, the witch preparing the fire for the alembic, the divine liqueur and finally Alcohol.

It was produced for the international exhibition of decorative and industrial arts in Paris to adorn the tower of Bordeaux. With three other great decorative works (Agriculture by Jean Despujols, The Landes forest by François-Maurice Roganeau, The Colonies by Marius de Buzon) it was intended to glorify the main economic resources of Bordeaux and its region. The Bordeaux architect Pierre Ferret was responsible for the interior decoration of the tower, and ordered the artists to employ a dark palette in order to emphasise the vivid colours of the colossal statue by Alfred Janniot. This statue, The vine was set in the centre of the great hall of the tower.

The monumental painting by Jean Dupas is both decorative and media-friendly. Produced by one of the most famous of Art Deco artists, it is extremely representative of the taste for large-scale decoration that was prevalent between the wars.

Vine and wine by Jean Dupas (c) mairie de Bordeaux