With Polly Sartori, Head of 19th Century European Paintings.
The depth of variety and quality found in the nineteenth century European art genre is well represented in Sotheby’s April 23rd auction in New York. William Bouguereau’s monumental L’Amour et Psyché depicts the mythological lovers Cupid and Psyche en route to Mount Olympus, while his Amour à l’affût features a much younger Cupid mischievously drawing back his famous bow and arrow. Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau’s ambitious painting The Farmer’s Daughter earned her a coveted medal at the Paris Salon, the only American woman to achieve such a distinction. Giovanni Boldini’s Ladies of the First Empire, painted in 1873, exhibits the artist’s hallmark approach to capturing the elegant world of the upper class. Among the Orientalist works on offer is Rudolf Ernst’s Outside the Mosque featuring Ernst’s characteristic barrage of textures and surfaces, as well as John Frederick Lewis’s A Frank Encampment in the Desert of Mount Sinai, 1842, an oil painting based on a watercolor deemed “among the most wonderful pictures in the world” by famed art critic John Ruskin. Gustave Courbet’s Femme Endormie is related to a now destroyed painting Venus in Jealous Pursuit of Psyche, Courbet’s controversial submission to the May 1864 Salon. Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s poetic Nymphes et Faunes is a rare large-scale painting by the artist uniting his abiding interest in the natural world with an underlying appreciation for music and theater.
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