Lot 448
  • 448

ÉMILE-RENÉ MÉNARD | The Three Graces

30,000 - 50,000 USD
375,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • The Three Graces
  • signed E.R. Menard and dated 1923 (lower right) 
  • oil on canvas 


Acquired from the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh Exhibition in 1924


Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, Twenty-Third Annual International Exhibition of Paintings, 1924 
Detroit Institute of Arts, Foreign Paintings Selected From the Twenty-Third International Exhibition of the Carnegie Institute, December 8, 1924-January 2, 1925, no. 30 (lent by the present owner) 
Rochester, Memorial Art Gallery, April 1925 (lent by the present owner)
Buffalo, New York, The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Albright Art Gallery, Collection of Foreign Paintings from the Twenty-third Carnegie Institute International Exhibition, November 5-30, 1925, no. 31 (lent by the present owner) 


Pittsburgh Daily Post, May 4, 1924, p. 65 
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 6, 1924, p. 11 
"Contemporary Art," The American Art Magazine, Washington, D.C., July 1924, vol. 15, no. 7, p. 342, illustrated 
The Los Angeles Times, August 3, 1924, p. 57 
Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, New York, March 30, 1925
The Pittsburgh Press, January 22, 1930, p. 17

Catalogue Note

From a young age, Émile-René Ménard was immersed in a rich artistic environment; his father was the Director of the Gazette des Beaux Arts in Paris, his uncle was a philosopher, and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Théodore Rousseau and Jean-François Millet often visited his family home. A pupil of both William Bouguereau and Paul Baudry, Ménard studied in Paris at the École des Beaux-Arts and the Académie Julian and exhibited in the Salon des Artistes Français by the age of twenty-one. However, it was the artist’s travels to the Mediterranean that shaped his career and inspired his affinity for Antiquity, adopting these motifs in his idiosyncratic symbolist style.

The Three Graces is a bucolic, dreamy vision of a Mediterranean paradise where the daughters of Zeus overlook a Provnençal seascape. The figure group is based on a now lost second century BC Greek bronze group, which in the nineteenth century would have been recognizable from several Roman marble copies in prominent collections (fig. 1) and from wall paintings in Pompeii.  By the 1920s, Ménard was highly regarded and well-received in the United States. The Three Graces has been in the collection of the Pittsburgh Athletic Association for nearly a century, having been purchased directly from the 23rd Annual Carnegie Institute International Exhibition in Pittsburgh during the summer of 1924. After the Pittsburgh exhibition, the present work, along with other European paintings on exhibit, traveled to some of the most important American museums. A critic of the exhibition remarked, "[Ménard’s] paintings release the imagination from topical affairs and send one beyond the horizon of time. In "The Three Graces," he reanimates antique sculptures and he infuses his landscape with opulent beauty" (Pittsburgh Daily Post, May 4, 1924, p. 65).