Lot 562
  • 562

Théodore Chassériau

Estimate
7,000 - 10,000 USD
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Description

  • Théodore Chassériau
  • Mary Stuart Swearing Revenge
  • with the Vente Théodore Chassériau stamp on the stretcher
  • oil on canvas
  • 25 1/2 by 21 1/4 in.
  • 64.7 by 53.9 cm

Provenance

Sale: Vente Chassériau, March 16, 1857, lot 16 (titled Marie Stuart jurant la vengeance)
Otto Skaller, Berlin 
Sale: Berlin, Paul Graupe, November 13, 1930, lot 3
Offered at: Berlin, Internationales Kunst-und Auktionshaus, February 2, 1932, lot 356 
Sale: Vente Chassériau, Paris, June 14, 1944 (titled Portrait de Mlle Alice Ozy)
André Derain, Chambourg
Sale: Galerie Charpentier, Paris, Vente André Derain, March 22, 1955, lot 63 (titled Alice Ozy dans le rôle de Marie Stuart)
Sale: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, June 24, 1955

Literature

Théophile Gautier, "Atelier de feu Théodore Chassériau," L'Artiste, VIe Série, XIII, March 15, 1857, p. 211 (cites among the most important works Marie Stuart jurant le vengeance)
Valbert Chevillard, Un peintre romantique, Théodore Chassériau, Paris, 1893, p. 286, no. 138
Marc Sandoz, Théodore Chassériau: 1819-1856, catalogue raisonné des peintures et estampes, Paris, 1947, p. 216, no. 104 (as Marie Stuart Jurant La Vengeance also known as Portrait de Mlle. Alice Ozy)
Louis-Antoine Prat, "Théodore Chassériau: oeuvres réapparues," Revue de l'Art, no. 125, 1999, p. 71-4

Condition

Oil on canvas, not lined. The picture surface, while flattened, is in generally good condition. Under UV light, there is a thick green varnish that obscures the majority of the work. Strengthening is visible in the architecture at right; the background at left; and around the face and arms of the Queen Mary.
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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

Catalogue Note

While Chassériau's precise inspiration for Mary Stuart Swearing Revenge is unknown, it is possible that the work was based on Friedrich Schiller's play of 1800 or Donizetti's opera, Maria Stuarda, written in 1845.

It has been suggested that the face of Mary Stuart in this picture is recognizable as famed actress Alice Ozy (1820-1883), who became Chassériau's mistress around 1849 and who may have played Mary Stuart in Paris in 1845. The scene pictured is that of the death of David Riccio, who entered Queen Mary's service in 1561 and became a close confidant after helping to arrange her marriage to Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley. Darnley was suspicious of Riccio's close relationship with Mary, and eventually had him dragged from her supper room at Holyroodhouse and stabbed to death in front of her. Chassériau has chosen to capture Mary's grief and suffering at seeing Riccio's lifeless body before her. As Louis-Antoine Prat suggests, she continues a theme of beautiful and damned women who inspired the artist, including Sappho, Cleopatra, Cordelia, Juliette and Desdemona (Prat, pp. 71-4).