Lot 50
  • 50

MARIE-VICTOIRE LEMOINE | Still life of spring flowers in a basket

80,000 - 120,000 USD
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  • Attribué à Marie-Victoire Lemoine
  • Still life of spring flowers in a basket
  • signed and dated lower left: m. Vicre / Lemoine / 1807
  • oil on canvas, an oval
  • 23 1/2  by 19 1/2  in.; 59.6 by 49.5 cm. 


Anonymous sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 16 April 2010, lot 37;
There acquired. 


The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, simonparkes@msn.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. This work has been restored and could be hung in its current state. The canvas has been lined with a non-wax adhesive. The paint layer is clean, varnished and retouched. There are almost no retouches in the still life or the basket, or in the shelf. Retouches are visible under ultraviolet light in the upper background around the profiles of the flowers at the top of the arrangement. These retouches are well applied, and the work looks well.
"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

Marie-Victoire Lemoine is said to have studied under Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, the most important female painter in Paris of her day.  While many artists, including Vigée, fled France during the Revolution given their associations with the court, others like Lemoine stayed and enjoyed fresh opportunities attested by the upheaval.  In 1791, the new government opened up the biannual Salons to all artists, including women like Lemoine who had previously been held back by the Académie Royale's limitations on the number of female members. Lemoine first exhibited at the Salon of 1796 and had a long career in Paris; she never married, but was able to support herself entirely by her painting, a remarkable feat at the time.  

Though flowers feature prominently in Lemoine's portraiture and genre scenes (see fig. 1 and the previous lot), the present work is the only extant, pure still life by the artist.  The flowers are painted with exceptional skill; her brushwork is soft yet the details are sharp and colors vivid.  The work recalls the still lifes of the great  Dutch masters Rachel Ruysch and Jan van Huysum, as well as the following generation of painters working in France like Gerard and Cornelis van Spaendonck.  Her carefully composed basket of flowers centers around three spring blooms: a large white viburnum, a golden yellow daffodil, and a large pink rosa centifolia (known as a "hundred petal" or cabbage rose).