Lot 149
  • 149

André Masson

120,000 - 180,000 USD
131,250 USD
bidding is closed


  • André Masson
  • Orphée outragé
  • Signed André Masson and dated 33 (lower right)
  • Oil on canvas


Galerie Simon, Paris
The Mayor Gallery, London
Galerie Gianna Sistu, Paris
Acquired from the above in 1976 and thence by descent


Guite Masson, Martin Masson & Catherine Loewer, ed., André Masson, Catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre peint 1919-1941, vol. II, Paris, 2010, no. 1933*10, illustrated p. 162

Catalogue Note

Orphée outragé is a highly charged, dazzlingly colored work which represents one of Masson’s most successful themes, that of Greek mythology. Representing a seminal moment in the artist’s career, the exuberant style of this painting embodies his unique approach—specifically his integration of color, line and form in a style that is at once figurative and abstract.

The work depicts the gruesome killing of Orpheus, a poet and musician gifted with the ability to charm even the most aggressive beasts with his lyre. As described by Carolyn Lanchner: “Masson’s increasing involvement with Greek myth is attested to by the titles of many of his paintings from 1932 to 1934—The Silenuses, Bacchanal, Daphne and Apollo, Orpheus, and The Horses of Diomedes. In 1933 and 1934 Masson tended to use bright, cleaner color, with the result that in certain canvases like Orpheus the ominous subject matter is secondary to—almost in conflict with—the extreme decorative quality of the painting. It is as if Masson were trying to convey the seductive beauty of the music of Orpheus’ lyre in the sweeping patterns of rose, red, green, blue, and purple” (Carolyn Lanchner, Andre Masson, New York, 1976, p. 136). An extraordinarily agile artist, Masson’s use of calligraphic lines and kaleidoscopic colors are put to powerful use in the present work.