Study for Joseph, Overseer of Pharaoh’s Granaries, ca. 1874
Pencil and watercolor heightened with gouache on card, 16 3/4 x 22 in.
This sheet by Alma-Tadema is related to the splendid painting in the Dahesh Museum collection, Joseph, Overseer of Pharaoh’s Granaries (acquired in 2002), first exhibited in 1874 at the Royal Academy. The subject derives from the Book of Genesis, with Joseph seated on a throne in his role as the Pharaoh’s overseer of the royal granaries, accompanied by a scribe reading him the account of sales. The finished painting follows the general composition and colors of the sketch, with the addition of details of the ancient Egyptian decorations and accoutrements. This study was in the collection of Andy Warhol.
Going to Market, 1851
Oil on canvas, 19 x 27 1/4 in.
Signed and dated lower right: Rosa Bonheur 1851
When Bonheur painted Going to Market, her reputation as an animal painter was already firmly established. The composition, peasants with their ox-drawn carts, demonstrates Bonheur’s command of animal anatomy, which she had studied at horse fairs, cattle markets, and in the family menagerie. While Bonheur won the highest artistic and governmental honors in France, her works were also greatly admired in Great Britain and the United States.
This is the seventh work by Bonheur to enter the Dahesh Museum collection.
The Woman of Boulogne
Bronze with green patina, 24 3/4 x 7 7/8 x 6 5/8 in.
Signed on base, back top: Dalou. Foundry mark on base, back bottom edge center: SUSSE Fres PARIS …rcue. Foundry mark on base, bottom right:SUSSE FRÈRES EDITEURS PARIS.
Inscribed on base, bottom right: Susse Fes EJes Paris
Gift of Tracy and Laurel Pulvers
Best known for his public monuments in Paris, in 1870 Dalou began to create statuettes of women. During his exile in London from 1871 to 1879, he executed a series of women from Boulogne—a theme made popular by the paintings of Alphonse Legros, who also lived in England at the same time. The original composition, entitled Palm Sunday at Boulogne, was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1872 and purchased by George Howard, later Earl of Carlisle. A girl returning from church, clasps a prayer book and a branch of leaves, indicating the Palm Sunday mass. In London, Dalou frequently exhibited at the Royal Academy and taught at the National Art Training School in South Kensington (later the Royal College of Art), where he had a profound influence on the development of British sculpture.
David, ca. 1872
Bronze, brown patina, 25 1/2 x 12 3/4 x 17 7/8 in.
Signed on base, top right: A. MERCIÉ. Stamped on base at side back center: REDUCTION MECANIQUE A. COLLAS BREVETÉ.
Gift of Tracy and Laurel Pulvers
Mercié, one of the most successful sculptors of late 19th- and early 20th-century France, began as a pupil of François Jouffroy and Alexandre Falguière at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He won the Prix de Rome in 1868 and found immediate success with the first plaster model of David that he executed while in Rome. The sculpture symbolized a glimmer of hope for France after its crushing defeat by Prussia. David, armed with a slingshot, brought down the giant Goliath, proving that France too could triumph over its enemy. The State awarded Mercié the Legion of Honor and in 1872 commissioned a bronze version of David (Musée d’Orsay). The Barbedienne foundry cast a miniature version, in six different sizes.
Gloria Victis (Glory of the Vanquished), modeled ca. 1874, cast after 1879
Bronze, 36 5/8 x 21 x 16 in.
Signed on base right: A. MERCIE. Inscribed on base at front edge: GLORIA VICTIS. Foundry mark on back base: F. BARBEDIENNE, Fondeur Paris. Stamped on back base: REDUCTION MECANIQUE A. COLLAS BREVETE.
Gift of Tracy and Laurel Pulvers
Mercié executed the plaster model for this group while studying in Italy as a Prix de Rome boursier, and exhibited it at the 1874 Salon. The winged female figure carrying a wounded soldier holding a broken sword expressed the loss and sacrifice of the French at the hands of the Prussians in the 1870–71 war. The sculpture won critical and popular acclaim. In his review of the Salon that year, the critic Jules-Antoine Castagnary observed: “while monarchists quarrel over the debris of our battered fortunes…there exists a young sculptor who has undertaken to speak directly to our nation and to console our people who have suffered so much.” Mercié received a medal of honor; the city of Paris purchased the sculpture for 12,000 francs and the model was cast in bronze by Thiébaut et fils (Musée du Petit Palais, Paris). Replicas of it adorned monuments dedicated to those who served in the Franco-Prussian War in many towns and cities throughout France, and the Barbedienne Foundry provided bronze reproductions in different sizes.
Study for The Black Eagle of Prussia, 1870-71
Graphite, black and brown ink on off-white wove paper, 9 5/8 x 14 1/8 in.
Signed lower right: G. Doré
This sheet by Gustave Doré, the most recent addition to the Museum’s substantial drawing collection, is of particular interest because it is a study for an important painting in the Museum collection. The Black Eagle of Prussia is one of three monumental canvases the artist painted in 1870–71, when Prussia defeated France and civil war broke out in Paris. One of three known studies for the painting, it most likely documents Doré’s first idea for the subject. With rapidly executed strokes, Doré determines the general composition: a defeated and prostrate France, embodied by a winged woman wearing a robe and Phrygian bonnet, clutching a broken sword and standard, is threatened by an ominous black eagle, the emblem of Prussia. The drawing differs in several areas from the finished painting, which adds fallen battlefield soldiers and enlarges the size of the bird in relation to the figure.
This is the fourth work by the artist to enter the collection.
Ploughing in the Nivernais (also called The First Dressing), 1868
Oil on canvas, 25 3/4 x 51 in.
Signed and inscribed lower right: E.J. Gardner/Rosa Bonheur/Paris 1868
One of the first American women to study art in Paris, Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau funded her training by initially making portraits and copies of famous paintings at the Louvre and Luxembourg Museums. Copying works by established artists was a common practice for the student, and this is an especially appropriate painting for the young American to select. A great admirer of Rosa Bonheur—who became her friend and mentor—Gardner aspired to improve her skill at painting animals, revealing to her biographer, Theodore Stanton: “I realized that the animals in my compositions were very inferior to Rosa Bonheur’s.”
Before entering the Académie Julian in 1873 and becoming William Adolphe Bouguereau’s student and eventually his wife, she studied with various prominent faculty members. This canvas, painted during her time of study with the great animal sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye at the Paris Botanical Gardens and Zoo, is a copy of Bonheur’s acclaimed Realist painting Ploughing in the Nivernais (also called The First Dressing), commissioned by the French state in 1848 and displayed at the Luxembourg Museum (now in the Musée d’Orsay). During her 58-year career in Paris, Gardner exhibited her work at the Paris Salon and became the first and only American woman to win a medal.
Heather-covered Hills by the Lakes near Silkeborg, 1907
Oil on canvas, 48 x 79 in.
Signed and dated lower left: P. Monsted 1907
Born at the tail end of the “golden age” of Danish painting, Mønsted established his reputation primarily as a naturalist landscape artist — especially admired for his poetic views of nature. He trained at the Copenhagen Academy from 1875 until 1879 but left without taking his final examination and continued to study independently with other artists, including the French academic painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau. Mønsted lived in Denmark but continually traveled in Italy, France, Switzerland, Norway, Algiers, Egypt, and Greece, exhibiting his works in his native country as well as in Paris and Munich. He also painted portraits, including Portrait of a Nubian (in the Museum collection). Heather-covered Hills by the Lakes near Silkeborg demonstrates the artist’s skill in capturing the light, air, and movement of the clouds. Silkeborg is located on the banks of the River Guden — Denmark’s longest waterway, renowned for the abundant flora and fauna on its banks.
Hamlet and the Gravediggers, 1883
Oil on canvas, 40 x 33 1/2 in.
Signed and dated lower left: J Dagnan-B 1883
Among the most creative students of the renowned academician Jean-Léon Gérôme, Dagnan-Bouveret staunchly maintained the academic tradition while modernizing it with contemporary themes and organizing his compositions with photographic techniques. Officially recognized and honored, Dagnan-Bouveret was named Officer of the Legion of Honor in 1891 and member of the Institut de France in 1900. Hamlet and the Gravediggers — Dagnan-Bouveret’s second work to enter the Museum collection — depicts the famous passage from Act V, Scene I of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, when the Danish prince discovers the scull of Yorick the Jester and contemplates the fate of all mankind. Dagnan-Bouveret’s friends, the artists Gustave Courtois and Karl von Steffen, posed for the figures of Horatio and Hamlet and the artist himself appears at the lower right, photographically cropped and facing the action. Painted in the lighthearted and somewhat satiric “troubadour style,” Dagnan-Bouveret’s naturalist tendencies are most clearly seen in the ragged figures of the gravediggers, depicted with his characteristic exactitude. First exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1884, it was popularized through reproductions published the same year. The artist gave Hamlet and the Gravediggers to his teacher, Gérôme, and a subsequent owner, the American banker George F. Baker donated it to The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Star of Bethlehem, ca. 1862
Oil on canvas, 61 x 21 3/4 in.
Although now best known for his innovative classical themes, in the 1860s Leighton created a series of biblical compositions including his powerful Star of Bethlehem, which the Museum has recently purchased. The subject of this work, which he exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1862, is a New Testament theme, though it does not reference a specific event in the Gospels. The bearded figure in a richly draped robe could be identified as a number of biblical figures if not for the explanatory sentence included in the Royal Exhibition catalogue and in the inscription on the original frame’s plaque “One of the Magi, from the terrace of his house, stands looking at the star in the East. The lower part of the picture indicates a revel, which he may be supposed to have just left.”. Leighton chose to paint what he described as a “long and narrow” composition of “somewhat fanciful” subject. With crown in hand, the king appears to have left behind the worldly pleasures of his palace, illustrated by the musicians and dancers in the painting’s lower register. The starlight beckons him onto a spiritual journey. The disproportionate duality between the two realms and the radiant light emanating from the star give the painting its magical appeal.
By the Sea, 1903
Oil on canvas, 37 3/4 x 24 1/12 in.
Signed and dated lower left: W-BOUGUEREAU 1903
Among Bouguereau’s most popular images with American collectors are his tender pictures of young peasant girls that evoke youth, purity, and beauty. As in the case of many of his works, the artist sent By the Sea in 1903 to the influential New York art gallery Knoedler & Co where it was acquired by Henry Reinhardt & Co., a Milwaukee based dealer who also had galleries in Chicago, New York and Paris. Then Richard Taylor Robinson a successful entrepreneur who studied pharmaceuticals at the University of Michigan (class of 1879) purchased the painting in 1905, and it remained in his family until it was acquired by the Dahesh Museum of Art.
Bronze, dark brown and reddish patina, 21 x 13 1/2 x 20 in.
Inscribed on base right side: BARYE
Bronze, dark brown and reddish patina, 21 x 13 1/2 x 20 in.
Signed on base left side: BARYE
Although Barye is most known for revolutionizing the genre of animal sculpture, he also received a thorough training in the classical tradition and often represented allegorical and antique subjects. Barye’s War and Peace as well as another pendant (Force and Order) were commissioned by the French state in 1854–55 to decorate the Cour du Carrousel (originally called Place Napoléon III) at the newly renovated Louvre. Barye received 5,000 francs for each pair of objects, which were intended to represent the responsibilities of State and citizen. Barye took the traditional image of Hercules Resting as the starting point for these sculptures. In War (on the right), the figure is seated on a recumbent horse, which may represent victory or strength, but his upper body is tense and on the verge of action as the accompanying putto blows his heralding horn. In Peace (on the left), on the other hand, the main figure is resting against an ox, a symbol of peace, listening to a putto playing the flute.
Jaquar Devouring a Hare, modeled – 1850
Bronze, dark brown patina, 17 1/2 x 40 x 16 in.
Signed on left base edge: A.L. BARYE. Inscribed on base edge by tip of the tail: F. BARBEDIENNE, Fondeur, Underside incised number 11
This work showing a powerfully elongated body of the jaguar with the limp body of its terrified prey, typifies Barye’s Romantic images that made him one of the most popular animal sculptors of the 19th century. When he exhibited the bronze of Jaquar Devouring a Hare (Louvre) at the Paris Salon of 1851, critics raved. Edmond de Goncourt wrote that with this sculpture, “the school of historicism had died, given way to art that was both visible and palpable. Just as landscape replaced historical subjects in painting, animals are doing likewise in sculpture. Nature has succeeded man. It represents the evolution of modern art.” Later on, the French avant-garde artist Henri Matisse chose Bayre’s sculpture as the model for his first sculpture of the same title (1899–1901, Baltimore Museum of Art), which he had begun while taking sculpting courses at the École Communal de la Ville in Paris.
From 1893, the foundry Barbedienne, who was responsible for casting much of Bayre’s work and making it available to a wider audience, produced bronze reproductions of these statues in three different sizes.
Young Girl with a Veil, 1901
Oil on panel, 13 3/4 x 10 1/2 in.
Signed and dated lower right: E. Dinet 1901
Dinet’s paintings and books provided a wealth of information on the traditions and customs of the people in Algeria, a country he made his home. After studying at the Académie Julien in Paris, he made the first of many trips to Algeria in 1884 before settling there in 1904, and converting to Islam in 1913. The American art critic Frederick Morton wrote of Dinet in the journal Brush and Pencil in 1904: “No other painter has evidenced such an intimate knowledge of the East; no one has caught and recorded with such fidelity the spirit of the Orient — people, topography, atmosphere, everything in his canvases is true to fact; no one has vitalized his pictures with the breath that is not of the Occident.” Young Girl with a Veil, the second painting by Dinet to enter the Museum’s collection, is an exquisite example of the artist’s Algerian oeuvre. Here, a bejeweled young girl coyly holds her veil across her bronzed face from the sun revealing her gentle smile and beautiful playful eyes as she gazes at us. Dinet has used this young model in many other works, including The Krouta Game (1901, private collection).
Oil on canvas, 22 x 18 1/2 in.
Bridgman, a renowned late 19th-century American painter, chose to live in France and devote himself to Orientalist subjects — especially North African scenes of daily life. In Pensive Moments, he presents a favorite subject, a North African woman in exotic dress with gauze sleeves, a bodice over her shoulders, and a conical hat usually worn by the women of Tlemcen — a town in northwestern Algeria. Bridgman described the costume in his book Winters in Algiers (1888), commenting that it resembled Moroccan dress because the Algerian city was near the Moroccan border. This recent acquisition — the third oil painting by the artist to enter the Museum’s collection — exemplifies Bridgman’s later naturalistic style. During the 1880s a freer and more painterly style replaced the meticulously polished compositions influenced by his teacher Jean-Léon Gérôme — as in An Oriental Beauty (in the Museum collection). Bridgman infuses this composition with sunlight pouring through the doorway to illuminate the seated woman who appears to be lost in thought.