Know Your Chapeau: Woman with Flowered Hat

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Jean Dupas, Woman with Flowered Hat, 1940

Jean Dupas, an artist of many trades, achieved fame through his success two stylistic movements: Art Noveau and Art Deco. By fusing these two concepts, Dupas created paintings depicting elegant women in abstraction.

The woman below the absurdity of her flowery chapeau wears an absent smile that speaks levels about the probable discomfort she feels. Perhaps it’s the heaviness of the hat, or perhaps it’s the sheer ridiculous nature that weighs on her mind as she stares off into the distance. Her beautiful, yet giraffe-like features compete with the hat’s elevation in an attempt to not be completely dwarfed. Yet, the blossom-covered headwear remains proudly undefeated. Zero points for giraffe neck. No, not even her soulless alien eyes may distract from the hat’s magnificence.

In a way, the hat resembles a layered cake. At the top, white anthurium flowers (or something which resembles them – I’m no botanist) bloom healthily at the top. If we proceed with the cake metaphor, the anthurium flowers would be the icing. Below, a yellow rose and a pale camellia rest together. Camellias and roses aren’t too similar, but they’re similar enough in petals and color that the two together are rather jarring. Color contrast is a wonderful concept, and Dupas may have dropped the ball here. Thankfully, the scarlet flowers beneath provides enough pop to save the arrangement, despite their gaudiness. Admittedly, I have no idea what they’re called. My impaired knowledge of flora terminology aside, even I know that this leaning tower of flowers makes for a mediocre bouquet at best.

In a sense, perhaps the giraffe alien lady makes the perfect match for this oddity. Hats off to you, Dupas.

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