Lot 501
  • 501

JULES-CYRILLE CAVÉ | Portrait of a Young Girl

6,000 - 8,000 USD
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  • Jules-Cyrille Cavé
  • Portrait of a Young Girl
  • signed J-CAVÉ- and dated 1899 (lower right) 
  • oil on canvas 
  • 16 1/8 by 13 1/4 in.
  • 41 by 33.7 cm


George N. Tyner, Mount Holyoke, Massachusetts (and sold, his sale, American Art Association, New York, February 1, 1901, lot 28) 
Fishel, Adler & Schwartz, New York (acquired from the above) 
Private Collection, New York
Private Collection, Kennebunkport, Maine (gifted from the above)
Acquired from the above circa 1980


The following condition report was kindly provided by Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc.: This work is in beautiful condition. The canvas is unlined. The paint layer is clean. Some cracking has developed over time, which is mostly visible in the darker colors of the background. The cracking could be addressed structurally, but the paint layer is stable. Under ultraviolet light, it can be seen that some of the cracks on either side of the head have received very thin retouches. There are no retouches in the head itself, shoulders or shirt.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

Through the early twentieth century, Jules-Cyrille Cavé’s work was collected well beyond his native France and paintings could be found in the most esteemed collections throughout Europe and in prominent collections across the Atlantic. In fact, the first owner of Portrait of a Young Girl was Senator George N. Tyner of Holyoke, Massachusetts, whose collection included masterpieces by Gustave Courbet, Eugène Boudin, Jean Béraud, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and William Bouguereau's Portrait de jeune fille (sold in these rooms, May 22, 2018, lot 27) among many others. The catalogue of his 1901 sale at American Art Galleries describes the present work: “With an expression of happy trust a girl looks over her right shoulder, which has escaped from the folds of a loose white gown. The dark brown hair is neatly dressed over a beautifully modelled neck; her eyes are large and earnest, and the cheeks round with youth and health.”

For an artist as prolific and accomplished as Cavé, remarkably little is known of his biography.  Born in Paris, by 1877 he had entered the Académie Julian in Paris joining the ranks of a generation of European and American artists influenced by its teachers, most notably Bouguereau.  After leaving the Académie it seems Cavé and Bougeureau remained close, as in the late 1880s the artist wrote to his daughter Henriette of attending a dinner in celebration of Cavé’s wedding (Damien Bartoli and Frederic C. Ross, William Bouguereau, His Life and Work, New York, 2014, p. 316).

Though the artist won several medals at the Salon exhibiting religious and allegorical works in the Academic tradition, the hallmark of his production are compositions exemplified by Portrait of a Young Girl, which maintain a strong association in style, subject, and sensibility to the celebrated works of his teacher.  While he carefully renders his models’ likeness (many recognizable from one composition to the next) he also conveys a specific, tender emotion. There is a timelessness to Cavé's compositions, and the smooth brushwork erases the presence of the painter and creates a balance between immobile, static form and rich surface details, textures, and color.