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

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Thomas Couture (1815-1879): Male Portrait

One of my favorite Parisian eBay sellers has listed this beautiful portrait by the famous French painter and art instructor Thomas Couture (1815-1879. I love the very competent way he handles paints on canvas in this lively portrait. Couture was a student of the famous Antoine-Jean Gros from 1830 to 1838 and Paul Delarouche from 1838 to 1839. Couture tried at least on three occasions to win the Prix de Rome but never achieved higher placement than second prize. He quickly became disgusted with the strict politics of the academic system and finally withdrew, taking an independent path in the French art world. He later became a staunch opponent of the stultified curriculum of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and even went so far as to discourage his own students from entering this hallowed institution. He first became notorious in the Parisian scene with his entry in the Paris Salon with his painting "Young Venetians after an Orgy." I would have loved to have seen the faces of the public viewing that work. What made his works attractive to the Parisian audience was his use of bright color and surface texture, which were derived from such painters as Decamps and Delacroix. Regardless of his personal bent, his methodical drawing techniques demonstrated his mastery of the now hated academic tradition.

Here is just a small selection from his very productive career:

L'avaro ... 1876

Head of a Woman .. 1853

Drummer Boy

Charles Baudelaire and Apollonie

The Fugitive - Study for Timon of Athens

The Little Bather

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Eugene Delecluse (1882-1972): Nude Bathing Scenes

This series of nude bathing scene paintings by Eugene DeleCheck Spellingcluse (1882-1972) was listed on a French auction site back in December of last year and I thought I would share them with you. I have been trying to search through the backlog of material I downloaded over the holidays and get some of them posted. I was attracted to these paintings by their playful, slightly erotic content, and by the artist's brush work and use of color, especially in the flesh tones. Eugene Delecluse studied in Paris under Cormon, Delance, Renard, and Walther. He began to exhibit at the Salon des Artistes Francais in 1903 and at the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 1915. He was appointed an official war artist by the French government during the Great War. After the war he earned the reputation of a popular portraitist and was in great demand by celebrities of the day. He later started his own studio, Academie Delecluse, in Montparnasse where he trained visiting Americans, especially women. He was also known for his lively works of street life in Paris and of his extensive travels in England, Eastern Europe, and North Africa.


Here is just a small sampling of his works:


Alexis (Alix) Marquet (1875-1939) - Nude Girl With A Rose

Addendum ( 02/14/12): The seller in Germany and I have finally agreed upon a sales price and this nice little bronze will be on its way into my collection tomorrow. I have spoken to John Ward of Masterworks Studio's and he has given me a preliminary estimate on repairs. She will have a nice home here.
A seller in Germany has recently listed this bronze of a nude girl by Alix Marquet (1875-1939) at what I think is a price too dear considering the condition. I am getting some first hand experience with bronze repair and it can get expensive. The thing I dislike about some of the European eBay sites is the propensity of sellers listing artworks to list an item with scant descriptive information. They list the bare essentials and refer you to the posted photographs for condition. This seller in particular describes those stress cracks in the ankles as "casting breaks." Somehow I really doubt a reputable 19th-20th century casting foundry would let a mistake like that out for public sale. That bronze would have been tossed back into the crucible and melted before it ever made it out the door for sale. I suspect those breaks are from dropping the bronze at an oblique angle, but that's just my observation. She seems to be leaning back against gravity too much when you compare the bronze to the illustration of the original sculpture below. I honestly would buy this bronze regardless of the damage if the listed price was more in line with the condition. Figurative works of young girls are that rare. Alexis Marquet was a listed French sculptor who did some well known monumental works and whose works are in major French museums.

Here is the original scultpure (below):

European eBay Offerings

Here are a few current eBay site offerings:

20th Century French School .. Standing Male Nude

Late 19th century French School .... Male Nude

Arthur Kampf - Female Nude ... dated 1916

Frans Stuck ... Playing Fauns

Hans Bohler .... Monogrammed H.B. ... Nude Boy With Sea Shell

G Schadow ... Adam and Eve (modern Reproduction from the original)

Monogrammist N.P. ... Young Faun with Butterfly

Oreste Costa (1851-1910)..... Young St. John

French School - late 19th century... Standing female nude

Camille Bellanger (1853-1919) Study from the Antique

Robert Lepeltier (1913-1996) Standing Male Nude

Johann Zick (1702-1762) Male Nude