Property from an English Private Collection
FEDERICO BELTRÁN MASSÉS
1885 - 1949
MUSES OF THE GUADALQUIVIR
signed F. Beltran Masses lower right
oil on canvas
painting: 130 by 200cm., 51¼ by 78¾in.
framed: 153 by 223.5cm., 60¼ by 88in.
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Please note, Condition 11 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers (Online Only) is no applicable to this lot
The canvas has been lined on a keyed wooden stretcher which appears to be the original.
The painting surface is stable and well preserved.
There are some areas of discoloured varnish in the lower right quadrant visible upon close inspection.
Inspection under ultra-violet light reveals one circa 10cm horizontal line of retouching in the lower right quadrant, possible addressing an old tear. There is one small 5x2cm small area in the gondola close to the centre of left framing edge and one 5x5cm area of restoration is visible in the dress of the woman in the foreground, in the lower left quadrant.
Some other small, scattered spots of retouching are visible, along with possibly some strengthening in the women's faces. Due to a heavy layer of varnish it is hard to tell the extent of other possible retouching.
Overall, this work presents very well and is in good condition.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.
Private collection, New York
Stair Sainty, London
Purchased from the above by the present owner
Los Angeles, The Ambassador Hotel, Stendhal Art Galleries, Exhibition of Paintings by the Spanish Master Federico Beltran-Masses, 1925, no. 11 (as Musas del Guadalquivir)
Whitehall, Palm Beach, The Society of the Arts, 1925, no. 18 (as Nuits d'Eté, on Guadalquivir)
Paris, Jacques Seligmann & Co., 1933, no. 15
Possibly, London, New Burlington Galleries, Paintings by Federico Beltran-Masses, 1938, no. 47 (as On the banks of the Guadalquivir)
Characterised by an atmosphere of languid, decadent sensuality, Muses on the Guadalquivir unites quintessential elements of the artist’s work on a grand scale. Flanked by a gypsy and a nude holding a fan, the central woman dominates the scene, her striking satin dress glowing with an almost metallic sheen in the moonlight. The scene is bathed in a deep blue, Whistlerian palette typical of the artist’s mysterious nocturnes, whether set in Venice or, as here, southern Spain. Seville’s Moorish past – alluded to by the thirteenth-century Torre del Oro and the Giralda – combine the spirit of the Orient with Spanish culture, both recurring sources of inspiration for Beltrán Massés.
Born in Guaira de la Melena, Cuba, where his father was the Spanish military envoy, Beltrán Massés moved to Barcelona in 1899 where he studied at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes. The artist's iconography reflected the concurrent reaction to modernity embodied in a taste for the elegant and exotic, celebrated by artists such as Ignacio Zuloaga and Julio Romero de Torres. This late Symbolism reintroduced the culture of myths, theatre, and bullfighters - symbols of a decadent society - and employed the use of allegory.
The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by M. Antonia Salom de Tord who will be including it in the forthcoming Beltrán Massés's catalogue raisonné (no. 260).