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124

Léon-François-Antoine Fleury

Woman Reading a Letter | La lecture de la lettre

Estimate:

5,000 - 7,000 EUR

Léon-François-Antoine Fleury

Léon-François-Antoine Fleury

Woman Reading a Letter | La lecture de la lettre

Woman Reading a Letter | La lecture de la lettre

Estimate:

5,000 - 7,000 EUR

Léon-François-Antoine Fleury

Paris 1804 - 1858

Woman Reading a Letter


Signed lower left L Fleury

Oil on panel

27,3 x 21,7 cm ; 10¾ by 8½ in.

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Léon-François-Antoine Fleury

Paris 1804 - 1858

La lecture de la lettre


Signé en bas à gauche L Fleury

Huile sur panneau

27,3 x 21,7 cm ; 10¾ by 8½ in.

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Léon Fleury is one of Corot’s most renowned associates. In the past, many paintings have been mistakenly attributed to one or the other artist. The confusion is understandable: the two artists have a very similar style and technique. The present painting is a typical example: the tight, intimate framing; the play of light with which the artist conveys form and drapery; the soft, restricted palette; and the very free, supple brushstroke – all these are features that the two artists share. 


From their first travels, Fleury and Corot began to work together, sometimes even from the same subject. In 1827, after leaving the studio of his masters Jean-Victor Bertin (1767-1842) and Louis Hersent (1777-1860), Fleury joined Corot in Italy; together they explored the Apennines and stayed in Naples, working from morning until night. After returning to France, Fleury continued to travel – mainly in France – and exhibited at the Salons, while welcoming many young painters into his studio. In 1859 Delécluze described Fleury as being among the ‘indefatigable workers who have been the pride of our Exhibitions in this past quarter of a century’.


His landscapes won medals at the Salons, but his portraits and religious paintings were also admired: in 1850 he was commissioned to paint the Baptism of Christ for the Church of Sainte-Marguerite, and Saint Genevieve for Saint-Etienne-du-Mont in Paris.


In the present painting, Fleury portrays a woman pensively reading a letter, with her hair loosened. Fleury depicts her in an intimate moment, caught unawares, but the subject matter is enigmatic: is the young woman reading a letter from a lover, or does she hold a rosary in her other hand…? 

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Léon Fleury figure parmi les proches de Corot les plus renommés. Nombre de tableaux ont dans le passé été attribués de façon erronée à l’un ou à l’autre. La confusion est compréhensible : le style et la technique des deux artistes sont très proches. Le présent tableau en est un bel exemple : le cadre resserré et intime, la lumière permettant à l’artiste de jouer sur les volumes et les plis, la palette limitée et douce, ainsi que la touche très libre et souple sont autant de points communs dans l’œuvre des deux artistes.


Dès leur premier voyage, Fleury et Corot commencent à travailler ensemble, parfois d’après le même motif. En 1827, au sortir de l’atelier de ses maîtres Jean-Victor Bertin (1767-1842) et Louis Hersent (1777-1860), Fleury retrouve Corot en Italie ; ensemble ils parcourent les Apennins et s’arrêtent à Naples, travaillant du matin au soir. A son retour en France, Fleury continue ses voyages – principalement en France – et expose aux Salons, tout en accueillant dans son atelier nombre de jeunes peintres. En 1859, Delécluze classe Fleury parmi les « travailleurs infatigables qui firent honneur à nos Expositions pendant ce dernier quart de siècle ».


S’il obtient des médailles aux Salons grâce à des paysages, ses portraits et tableaux religieux sont eux aussi appréciés puisque lui sont confiées, en 1850, les commandes du Baptême du Christ pour l’église Sainte Marguerite et de Sainte Geneviève pour Saint-Etienne-du-Mont à Paris.


Dans le présent tableau, Fleury représente une femme lisant une lettre, les cheveux dénoués, dans une attitude pensive. Prise sur le vif, Fleury la décrit dans un moment d’intimité, laissant toutefois planer le doute quant au sujet : s’agit-il de la lettre d’un amant, ou bien la jeune femme tient-elle un chapelet dans son autre main… ?