Property of an Important Private Collector
titled in French and signed S.e le 7eme / LLevy Dhurmer lower right
pastel on paper laid on board
paper: 65 by 48.5cm., 25½ by 19in.
framed: 90 by 74.5cm., 35½ by 29in.
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Pastel on paper laid on board, affixed to an additional thick board which is flat and stable. There are three small nail holes visible, in the upper right, upper left and lower left corner respectively. The artist's sheet appears to be in good condition.
Presented glazed and framed.
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.
Stair Sainty Gallery, London (label on the back)
Sale: Christie's, Paris, 20 June 2007, lot 138
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner
Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer was continuously inspired by music and tried to emulate through pastels and painting the emotion rendered by auditory notes and harmonies created by composers such as Beethoven, Debussy, and Gabriel Faure. As in The Moonlight Sonata and The Appassionnata, the title of the present work Septieme Symphonie underlines this connection by adopting its name directly from the symphony of Beethoven. However, the work mirrors Beethoven’s music in more ways than simply titular. Wagner, upon hearing Beethoven’s symphony, described it as ‘melody and harmony uniting around the sturdy bones of Rhythm to firm and fleshy human shapes.’ (Richard Wagner, The Art-Work of the Future, vol. 1, 1895, pp. 69-213) This bodily metaphor is apt, and parallels can be drawn between the rolling tempo of the symphony and the energy behind the frenzied strokes of the pastel.
In this work, a female figure dances to soundless music with her arms raised to hide her face and interlocking fingers. Her form is surrounded by bursts of yellow and orange light which illuminate her figure and enhance her movement. The gentle contours of her form and her tangled hair, heightened by the texture of the cross-hatched pastel and vibrancy of colour, add to the ephemeral aura of the composition and imbue it with symbolic aesthetic.