- Khalil Saleeby
- signed and dated Saleeby 1901; signed and dated in Arabic
- oil on canvas
- 73 by 59.5cm.; 28 3/4 by 23 3/8 in.
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner in 2016
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Saleeby’s Solomé offers a new perspective on a myth which had truly captured the imagination of the Decadent movement. The story had gained ground in Paris and London for its oriental feeling and elements of licentiousness; from Aubrey Beardsley’s illustrations of Oscar Wilde’s play, to the sensuous description of Gustave Moreau’s paintings in Huysmans 1884 novel A Rebours. At first glance, Solomé almost passes for a Vermeer-esque scene of domesticity, only after we come to know the subject of the painting do we realise that the empty dish is entirely devoid of any culinary purpose, prepared instead to receive the severed head of John the Baptist. Diaphanous gossamer sleeves enclose a subtle reference to the fabled ‘Dance of the Seven Veils’, yet there is a tenderness of expression which seems to overhaul the threatening European version of Salome, recasting the daughter of Herodias less as a temptress than as an object of affection.