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412

Jules Joseph Lefebvre

Sappho

Estimate:

40,000 to - 60,000 USD

Jules Joseph Lefebvre

Jules Joseph Lefebvre

Sappho

Sappho

Estimate:

40,000 to - 60,000 USD

Lot sold:

40,320

USD

Jules Joseph Lefebvre

French

1836 - 191

Sappho 


signed Jules LeFebvre (upper right)

oil on canvas

canvas: 21¾ by 16 in.; 55 by 40.5 cm

framed: 33¾ by 28 in.; 86 by 71 cm

The canvas is laid down on panel or board that is covered wax on the reverse. There is flat craquelure through most of the brown background and on the figure's hair. Under UV light: very fine craquelure filling above signature, above her hair and in front of her chest. The surface has been selectively cleaned on flesh colors and lighter areas. The painting should be removed from its support and stretched, as the condition is otherwise quite good.


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. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color 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. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

Clark Morrison Jr. and Katherine Barnhart McMurrich Morrison, Oswego, New York (acquired at auction in New York before World War II)
Bequeathed to their son, John Morrison, Washington, D.C.
Thence by descent to the present owners
Known for his meticulous portraits of beautiful women, Jules Lefebvre was a graduate of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and a winner of the prestigious Prix de Rome. During his long career he earned numerous honors, among them the appointment to the Académie des Beaux-Arts and the rank of Commander in the Legion of Honor. As a professor at the Académie Julian in Paris he taught scores of American painters as well as others who went on to become famous in their own right, such as Fernand Khnopff, Kenyon Cox, and Félix Vallotton.

Lefebvre's choice of subjects included historical, mythological and literary figures, as well as the occasional royal portrait. In Sappho, the artist chose to depict the prolific poetess from the Greek island of Lesbos, famous and greatly admired through much of antiquity for her lyric poetry that has continued to influence poets ever since. Viewed in profile, the sitter's luminous features stand out against the muted backdrop and highlight the artist's incomparable skill in the treatment of flesh as well as texture. The golden laurel wreath glistening on her head, symbolizes the highest academic achievement, which together with the scroll in her hand, indicates Sapphos's induction into the group of the Nine Lyric Poets esteemed by the scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria.