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Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Young Nymph teased by Putti

A Young Nymph teased by Putti

Artist: Jean Léone Gérôme
Title: A Young Nymph teased by Putti, 1851
Signed and dated 'J. L. Gerome 1851' (lower left) inscribed with the artist's initials on the reverse
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Size: 16 x 12 in (40.6 x 30.5 cm)
French Orientalist, 1824-1904


Gérôme a follower of the Néo-Grec school of the 1850s used a popular subject-matter of Fragonard and other Rococo artists by depicting this nude scene.


This composition is after a preparatory drawing by Gérôme that was sold at Christie's, New York, May 22, 1997, entitled Venus playing with Putti by the Statue of Cupid. The drawing is lightly squared for transfer in black lead, and the figures are the same size as in the painting. There are differences between the preparatory drawing and the painting, the statue of Cupid and a decorated staff on the ground have been omitted in the oil, and the figure on the ground behind the legs of the main group is new. However, the central group of three figures is almost exactly the same as in the drawing.

Gérôme has signed his picture in italics, his practice in the fifties when signing oil sketches; his finished works were signed with Roman capitals. This painting may then be a preliminary oil sketch for a larger version of the subject not yet recovered, or perhaps never painted.

Please note than in Gerald Ackerman's revised monograph, (Jean-Léon Gérôme, monographe révisée, Catalogue raisonné mis à jour, Paris, 2000, p. 218, no. 33.5, illustrated p. 219) this work is reattributed to Studio of Gerome. Although a French translation of the above catalogue note also appears in his 2000 monograph, Mr. Ackerman now adds that the present work may be an esquisse for a larger work not yet discovered or perhaps never realized. He also feels that studio members may have been involved in the present work's execution as Mr. Ackerman considers the quality of the painting to be less than that of the drawing.
Source Prof. Gerald Ackerman Sotheby catalogue for the February 9, 1999 (lot 92)
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