's risqué subject matter is seemingly unique in the oeuvre
of Prosper d'Épinay. This is likely to be the terracotta version which was exhibited at Galerie Georges Petit in 1882. The model relates to another by the sculptor, shown at the Salon in 1884, which represents the courtesan Marion from Alfred de Musset's poem, Rolla
; its terracotta version
was sold in these rooms on 23 November 2010 (lot 81). Le Rêve
is even more overtly inspired by Henri Gervex's scandalous painting Rolla
than d'Épinay's version of the same subject. Depicting the courtesan asleep on a bed in a suggestive pose, the painting was excluded from the Salon of 1878 on the grounds that it was 'immoral'. While Le Rêve
replicates the pose of the woman in Gervex's painting, d'Épinay enhances its eroticism with his model's gesture, which is tantalisingly concealed by her bent leg. It is hardly surprising that, rather than at the Salon, Le Rêve
was shown at the alternative, and perhaps more progressive, exhibition space of Georges Petit.
For a biography of Prosper d'Épinay, see lot 26.