Thursday, February 16, 2017

Manette Salomon (1883)

Charles Durand: Manette Salomon

In this remarkable composition, exhibited at the Salon of 1883, Charles Durand illustrates a scene from Edmund and Jules Goncourt’s 1867 novel, Manette Salomon, which explores the trials and triumphs of artists in mid-nineteenth century Paris.  Two artists, whose likenesses seem to recall those of the Goncourt brothers themselves, gaze upon the title character posed on a chair draped in fabric. Her illuminated body and discarded white dress are highlighted within the artist’s dimly lit atelier, crowded with a myriad of objects, oil sketches, plaster casts, and props. Anatole observes from a chair at the edge of the studio as his friend Coriolis, with brushes and palette in hand, adjusts the pose of his wife and muse, Manette. Her prominent position here parallels her role in the Goncourt’s novel, for Coriolis’s career would be both propelled and ruined by his tireless efforts to capture the beauty, charm, and irresistible features of Manette Salomon. [Sotheby's]

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