Magritte's Le Toit du monde

KESSELS (Willy)

Jasinska at Home.

(Brussels, Willy Kessels, circa 1928-1929).

Original silver print photograph (168 x 230 mm), signed with a dry stamp at the bottom left and, on the back, with a wet stamp with the address 191 rue Royale [Brussels].

On the left wall, we can see Magritte’s painting, “Le Toit du monde” [The Roof of the World], 1926 (Sylvester, 103).

It is unknown that this painting, reproduced in March 1927 in the magazine “Sélection” by P.-G. Van Hecke, belonged to the Jasinski couple. [Jasinska kept this painting after her divorce, and it integrated her new home upon marrying Eugène Flagey in 1938. It then found its way into the collection of legendary Italian actress Sophia Loren and her husband, film producer Carlo Ponti. More recently, it was owned by the Italian curator and art historian Franco Russoli, director of the Pinacoteca Brera, one of the most prestigious institutions in Italy. It was sold at Sotheby’s in 2017].

In the background is a portrait of a woman by Marie Laurencin. Ultra-modern interior designed by the architect Stanislas Jasinski, with state-of-the-art tubular furniture; among Jasinski’s furniture, we see what is undoubtedly one of the first prototypes of the B306/LC4 chaise longue created in 1928 by Charlotte Perriand. The elegant Jasinska is probably wearing a creation by the Norine [Van Hecke] fashion house located at 67 Avenue Louise in Brussels (just opposite the Centaure).

Jasinska (Marcelle La Croix-Flagey, 1900-1999, known as). At the Brussels Academy, in 1919, she followed the course “Drawing of the alternate model according to the ancient figure and the living model”; in her class was the future architect Stanislas Jasinski (1901-1978), whom she married in 1924. Their classmates were René Magritte, Victor Servranckx, Pierre-Louis Flouquet and Karel Maes, who would soon meet the brothers Pierre and Victor Bourgeois to establish in 1922 the group and the magazine “7 Arts”, promoter of the “Pure Plastics”. She started to work in 1924 as a drawing teacher. She then took “Jasinska” as her artist’s name, which she kept until her divorce in July 1936. This “slavished” pseudonym, perhaps chosen to distinguish herself from her husband, reflects her attraction to the famous Russian female figures of the avant-garde. It is difficult to discuss her early artistic production because most of it was destroyed or misattributed by typos to Jasinski. Around 1923-1924, the Jasinski couple went to Paris, where they met, among others, the Perret brothers, Robert Mallet-Stevens, Charlotte Perriand and Le Corbusier. From November 14 to 29, 1925, she exhibited at the Maldoror Cabinet in Brussels with a group of “painter-builders” brought together by the “Lanterne sourde”, an association close to “7 Arts”; alongside Baugniet, Flouquet, Gaillard, Servranckx and Maurice Xhrouet, Jasinska exhibited five works all entitled “Painting”. Around the same time, the architect Henry van de Velde discovered her work and asked her to show it in the advertising section of the Leipzig International Exhibition. In 1927, Jasinska (and not Jasinski!) signed an article on the artist Alice Halicka in the magazine “7 Arts”. In 1928, she joined the teaching staff of the Higher Institute of Decorative Arts of La Cambre, created in 1926 by Henry van de Velde, as assistant professor of the course on the Science of Colours. It was the beginning of a long career at the Institute (professor of colour harmony, haute couture courses, weaving courses), which ended in 1966. She then devoted herself to tapestry, quickly exhibiting and taking her place within the world of contemporary tapestry in Belgium (Virginie Devillez).

Very rare indeed.