European Art: Paintings & Sculpture

European Art: Paintings & Sculpture

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 1. SIMEON SOLOMON | THE FORSAKEN ARIADNE.


Lot Closed

June 18, 01:01 PM GMT


15,000 - 20,000 GBP

Lot Details





signed and dated l.r.: SIMEON/ SOLOMON/ 1895; titled l.c.; THE FORSAKEN ARIADNE

red chalk

32 by 46cm., 12.5 by 18in.

Please note: Condition 11 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers (Online Only) is not applicable to this lot.

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The Leger Galleries, London, where purchased by the present owner in October 1968

Solomon painted several important pictures inspired by classical mythology or pagan ritual in the 1860s, including the well-known watercolour Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene of 1864 (Tate) and culminating in the large oil paintings Habet! In the Coliseum of 1865 (sold in these rooms, 12 July 2018, lot 33) and Toilette of a Roman Woman of 1869 (Delaware Art Gallery, Wilmington). The pictures of the 1860s were in the prevalent style of the Aesthetic Movement championed by Solomon’s friends Edward Poynter, Edward Burne-Jones and Gabriel Rossetti. These earlier paintings sought to evoke the classical world in narrative-telling compositions of multiple figures dressed in togas within Greek or Roman settings. By the 1890s Solomon’s obsession with depicting the emotions of unrequited love, abandonment, betrayal and introspection, was more condensed into androgynous single-figure subjects of allegories and deities, heroines and villains. Mostly comprising works on paper, Solomon’s later pictures are infused with a melancholic intensity which is similar to European Symbolist art by the likes of Fernand Knopff and Gustave Moreau. Following his arrest for homosexual offences in 1873 Solomon was an outcast from Society who lived and worked on the streets of London on his drawings which were sold to a handful of loyal patrons. The circumstances of his life gave his drawings a unique power as though they were realisations of the images of his dreams and torments. The present drawing of the Cretan princess Ariadne is saturated with brooding, melancholic passion which can be compared with Rossetti’s images of Jane Morris such as Proserpine and Pandora. In classical mythology Ariadne was the daughter of King Mynos and Queen Pasiphae and the half-sister of the monstrous Minotaur. When she helped the hero Theseus to escape the Labyrinth and slay the Minotaur, he took her as his bride but abandoned her on the island of Naxos. Solomon’s picture shows Ariadne on the shores of the island desperately searching the horizon for her lover’s boat whilst her draperies whirl around her, stirred by the winds that have taken Theseus far from her, never to return.