The Passion of Collecting Academic Nudes

Join me as we explore my collection of Academic Nudes from the 18th, 19th, and Early 20th Centuries and serendipitous finds in the Museum, Art Auction, and Gallery world......examples from the Golden Age of the European Academie

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

François-Léon Sicard (1862-1934) - Standing Male Nude - Circa 1879-80


     Well, this is one of those times when I should have done my homework. I spotted this finely executed 19th century drawing of a standing male nude on eBay France and I pulled one of my stupid collecting mistakes; I failed to research the artist and just relied upon the image itself to make an estimate on the drawings value to a savy collector. This is a drawing made when the artist studied in the studio of Jules Cavelier at the School of Fine Arts in Paris. The drawing bears the stamp of the artist's studio sale at the bottom right and is signed on the back at the top left. I programmed a bid and of course the bidding went a hundred Euros above my estimate. The drawing sold for just over four hundred Euros and I would have gladly paid many hundred Euros over that winning bid to add it to my collection. Lesson learned: Do your research dummy!

                                                The Artist in his natural habitat.

     Here's a short biography from the web: 

"François-Léon Sicard (April 21, 1862 – July 8, 1934) was a French sculptor in the late 19th and early 20th century. His credits include work on the adornments of the Louvre, and numerous sculptures around the world. Sicard was born in Tours, studied with Louis-Ernest Barrias, and is known for his lithography and his fiercely patriotic original works of art. Despite the prolific populace of noted works throughout Europe, surprisingly little is known about Sicard himself. His work is very similar to that of Gustave Crauk (1827–1920) and Antoine-Augustin Préault (1809–1879), and he may have worked in collaboration with Crauk on some of his sculptures during the early 20th century."

      And here is the drawing I missed:

Here are just a few of his many celebrated works:

Monday, May 9, 2022

Male and Female Nudes - 18th Century Intaglio Print: Adam & Eve ... Unattributed


I was doing my usual rounds on the European eBay sites this morning when I came across this unique 18th Century intaglio print of the classic subject of "The Temptation of Eve." The asking price was ridiculously low so I snapped it up. It appears to be on thick laid paper and features all the undercurrents of an 18th century "highly erotic, as close to a pornographic depiction as you can get without falling afoul of the church" depiction of biblical sexual seduction. Adam (featured in all his masculine attributes, beard, bulging muscles and "give me that apple you fabulous wench" gaze) is there in all his masculine glory reaching for that "apple" (The symbol of love, wisdom, and, alas, death in art) which is conveniently located where the center of female pleasure lies (at least for some males) and not isolated up on a branch in a tree! The various depictions of "Adam & Eve" has always been one of my favorite artistic subjects but this is the first time I have seen it depicted in such a blatantly erotic manner. The snake is whispering in Adam's ear (Go get it big boy, it's there if you want it, take it, God won't mind...he really won't mind!) and I am immediately reminded of that age old joke about sex: "Thy beauty lies between your thighs!" (Yes sir, it's right there where it's supposed to be... see that apple!)...And within this image we have all the symbolism of good wholesome down in the dirt sex. The rabbit is associated with the "moon deities" and may signify rebirth or resurrection and may also be associated with fertility or sensuality. The snake, like its serpentine penile shape, also represents male fertility or a creative life source and the continual renewal of life (and of course (boo, hiss, boo!) "sin" in biblical terms). The "leopard" can symbolically represent strength, agility, perception, and rare beauty in art (attributes of both male and female nude subjects). My guess is what we have here is an 18th century depiction of precoital sex. This image must have been responsible for many an enjoyable cock-stand on young virgin gents in the 18th century.... Enjoy


Here are just a few of the many depictions of Adam & Eve in the 18th Century...

Oops!  My Bad! That's the nitwit braying jackass President of the United States in his most recent Presidential Portrait! Just deal with it!

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Josef JUNGWIRTH (1869-1950) Akt / Female Nude ..... Executed in Pastels


     Another beautiful drawing by Joseph Jungwirth (1869-1950) (See previous posts for Bio) has come on to the auction market. This time it is a beautiful female nude executed in color pastels. Again, Jungwirth shows us his great artistic talent and control of his chosen medium. Enjoy:


April 21, 2022... I happened upon another female nude by Jungwirth today, this time a nice study in
oils on canvas dated 1920. Enjoy:

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Regency Portrait of a Young Man - Watercolor Miniature Painting - Unknown British Artist - Late 18th - Early 19th Century


        Those of you who have been following my blog know that I am fond of a well executed portrait. Several weeks ago I was wondering around the halls of eBay UK when I found a well executed early 19th Century miniature watercolor portrait of a dapper young man, obviously a member of the haut ton of English Society. I programmed a bid and won the auction and a few days ago it arrived. The work is extraordinary in the detail of the sitter and is a beautiful example of the early 19th century miniaturist's work. There is a very light pencil underdrawing detectable on the surface of the paper, especially around the face of the sitter.  The tiny painting measures just three inches by four inches but is packed full of brush stroke detail and has to be the work of a well trained late 18th - early 19th century artist. I have examined it under high magnification and yes it is a watercolor and not a print. Examination under UV light shows no detectable in-painting or repairs to the image. I have searched the painting for a signature but it appears to be unsigned, at least on the front. It is adhered to the case and I would not even contemplate trying to remove it from the mount.  Enjoy.

Roger de la Fresnaye (1885-1925) - Standing Female Nude - circa 1900-1910 (Attributed)


Portraits of the Artist
              I was on my usual haunts on eBay France today when I found this very nice standing female nude by the French Artist Roger de la Fresnaye (1885-1925). The asking price was way outside my budget but I thought I would share it with you. Apparently de la Fresnaye's works demand some pretty hefty auction prices, this drawing included. His Cubist works have very little appeal to me but his observational drawing skills regarding the live model were right up there with the best. 

     Here is some biographic information from the web:

"La Fresnaye was born in Le Mans where his father, an officer in the French army, was temporarily stationed. The La Fresnayes were an aristocratic family whose ancestral home, the Château de La Fresnaye, is in Falaise. His education was classically based, and was followed from 1903 to 1904 by studies at the Académie Julian in Paris, and from 1904 to 1908 at the École des Beaux-Arts.[1] From 1908 he studied at the Académie Ranson under Maurice Denis and Paul Sérusier, whose joint influence is evident in early works such as Woman with Chrysanthemums, 1909. This demonstrates the dreamlike symbolist ambience and stylistic character of work by the Les Nabis group.From 1912 to 1914 La Fresnaye was a member of the Section d'Or group of artists, and his work demonstrates an individual response to cubism. He was influenced by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, but his work has a more decorative than structural feel and his prismatic colours reflect the influence of Robert Delaunay. He was a member of the Puteaux Group, an orphist offshoot of cubism led by Jacques Villon. His most famous work is The Conquest of the Air, 1913, which depicts himself and his brother outdoors with a balloon in the background.

La Fresnaye enlisted in the French army in World War I but contracted tuberculosis and was discharged in 1918. His health deteriorated rapidly after the war. He never recovered the physical energy to undertake sustained work. In the later paintings that he did create, he abandoned cubist spatial analysis for a more linear style. He ceased painting in 1922 but continued to draw. De la Fresnaye died in Grassein in 1925 at the age of 40."


Here are a few examples of his other works: