Secrets de l’Amour by William Adolphe Bouguereau
The holidays are in full swing here in the French Quarter, and that means decorations, parades and parties! It is also a special time here at the gallery as we recently opened our very first exhibition Impressionism: Influences & Impact. Showcased are impressionist masters like Claude Monet, Alfred Sissley and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, along with artists like Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, who influenced them, and Vincent van Gogh, who was inspired by the revolutionary movement.
You may instantly recognize Secrets de l’Amour (Cupid’s Secrets) as the work of one of the most decorated artists of the 19th century, William Adolphe Bouguereau. With the influence of light and color from the Impressionists, Bouguereau painted classically themed portraits of women. This masterpiece is the ultimate expression of Bouguereau’s artistic ideals and even features his favorite model, Odile Charpentier.
The artist’s passion for the classical past is felt powerfully in this exceptional composition that depicts a coy cupid draped over a young woman’s shoulder, which he appears to be advising in matters of the heart. Finessed with the utmost academic rigor to which Bouguereau was dedicated, this painting also seems to have a deeply personal significance as it was painted the same year he married his long-time love Elizabeth Gardner.
Bouguereau received tremendous acclaim during his lifetime; he so dominated the Salons of the Third Republic that the official Salon became known unofficially as “Le Salon Bouguereau”. He is still highly sought-after today and his works are held in a number of prestigious private collections, as well as museums around the world.
We are fortunate to have this stunning piece in our collection, and as one of the gems of the exhibition. If you are in the New Orleans area, I encourage you to visit the gallery and explore the fascinating history of Impressionism. Impressionism: Influences & Impact runs until Janurary 4, 2013 and more information can be found here.
Jeune Femime a Leventail
Only a few times in our 100 years in business have we had the opportunity to own paintings by the famed Belle Époque painter, James Jacques Tissot. His recognizable images of stylishly dressed women of leisure are commanding ever higher prices at auction, and we were fortunate to buy this painting, after years of pursuing it.
Jeune Femme a’ l’Eventail is a study of a young woman dressed in 18th century period costume, seated in a park, coquettishly holding a fan near her face. Typical of Tissot’s women, this painting displays profound attention to light in the lush landscape of the park and to the soft details of the woman’s clothes. Our eyes are naturally drawn to the splayed fan – one of Tissot’s favorite props – which adds to the flirtatious nature of the painting.
Tissot’s paintings so often tell a story, and this painting is rich in details with the painter’s love of theatrics. The dramatic striped dress so expertly rendered on this model is one he used in several works. Tissot bought these costumes at local second-hand markets to suit the tastes of his patrons, who preferred portraits in 18th century dress. Even the fan reveals a secret language of women, in this case, that of a coy young woman. The model may be recognizable to Tissot collectors as she was one of his favorite subjects and is featured in several of his paintings.
As our research department delved into the history of the painting, they found it published in three important Tissot books. We were delighted! We also found other paintings that included the same model and the same dress.
This is one of the most exciting paintings we have ever had, so if you are in the New Orleans area, I invite you to come see its beauty in person.
Madame Paul Valery by Renoir
M.S. Rau Antiques will mark the end of its centennial with a specially curated exhibit of more than 45 significant works of art, many from world-renowned Impressionist artists. These works, many of which belong to private collectors and have never been seen in public before and others which are in the Rau collection for public offering, illustrate how these masters paved the way to this remarkable movement in art history in the 20th century. The artists of these museum-quality paintings, whose works are the bench marks of these highly influential movements, embody the pre-Impressionist and Impressionist period peerlessly: Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Vincent van Gogh and Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, among others.
Two art history scholars will present lectures at the M.S. Rau gallery on the topic of Impressionism. Michelle Foa, Assistant Professor of Art History at Tulane University, will speak on December 1st; Lisa Rotondo-McCord, Assistant Director of Art, New Orleans Museum of Art, will speak December 15th,
The paintings will be on display in M.S. Rau’s exhibition gallery from November 16th to January 4th 2013, at 630 Royal Street in the historic French Quarter. The gallery is open to the public Monday to Saturday, 9:15am to 5:00pm. Admission to the exhibition is free and information on attending the lectures can be found at: www.rauantiques.com or by calling 800.544.9440.
Little Red Riding Hood by Joseph Gott
As winter approaches, I can’t help but to think about being bundled up and reading a great classic. In reflecting on childhood classics, I felt compelled to share with you an exquisitely crafted sculpture that is inspired by the well-known tale Little Red Riding Hood. This 19th century sculpture is expertly carved from pure white marble by Joseph Gott. Known for his unconventional, almost light-hearted approach to his subjects, Gott first entered the Royal Academy schools in 1805. He went on to win a silver medal in 1806 and gold medals in 1807 and 1819.
Classically sculpted face of Little Red Riding Hood by Joseph Gott
Gott’s approach to sculpture is epitomized in Little Red Riding Hood, where the legendary character’s unmistakable charm is effortlessly rendered. Captured in a peaceful moment, certainly a rare one in this famous story, Little Red Riding Hood’s innocent expression is echoed perfectly by the fine white marble Gott used to craft this work of art.
Originally from Leeds, England, Joseph Gott began to explore his art at an early age. When you look at this sculpture, you can’t help but think he was inspired by his experience as a young artist! From 1798-1802, he studied under celebrated sculptor and Wedgwood designer John Flaxman. In 1822, Gott went to Rome as many artists did during the time. The inexpensive lifestyle, beautiful landscape and readily available artist materials made it a haven for artists like Gott. And like many artists, Rome was to be Gott’s base for the rest of his life.
A contemporary of John Gibson and Richard James Wyatt, who were also based in Rome, Gott set himself apart from his fellow expatriate sculptors, avoiding high moral or obscure mythological themes and never developing a liking for sweet nymphs. Gott’s work instead responded to the more open-minded patron who wanted sculptures that reflected an unaffectedness and genuine humanity. His work includes a variety of rustics and shepherds, animals – especially dogs – and many portrait busts and medallions, typically in Roman costume. Among his ideal figures, the most characteristic are girls, lightly draped, with Greek foreheads and noses, but their softer faces and chins putting them firmly in the early part of the 19th Century. Little Red Riding Hood has never been more beautiful!
Click here to see more of M.S. Rau’s fascinating sculptures.
October 20th, 2012 | posted by James Gillis
Baccarat Opaline Glass Vases
Cartouche Windows with Decorative Enameled Flowers
The beauty of Baccarat takes so many forms. From dazzling crystal chandeliers to ornate ormolu and crystal centerpieces, the elegance of Baccarat design is recognized by museums, collectors, and royalty worldwide as some of the most desirable pieces of decorative art.
Although some historians have argued that he was not a particularly effective king, Louis XV did bring France to a cultural high point during his reign. Thanks in part to his famed mistress, Madame de Pompadour, Louis XV patronized painters, cabinetmakers and sculptors, the ornate style of which now carries his namesake.
During Louis XV’s reign, the Baccarat glassworks company was founded in the town of Baccarat in the Lorraine region in eastern France. The year was 1734, and the company began producing stemware and mirrors for the wealthy European elite and royalty. After receiving its first royal commission in 1823, Baccarat was launched into worldwide demand, with designs that were beautifully ornate and uniquely French. Under the reign of Napoleon III, the use of opaline glass – an opaque and colorful decorative glass often accented with gilding – was introduced and became very popular. With a high lead content and jewel-like tones, the decorative pieces were meant to mimic Venetian glass, produced in Italy in the 16th century.
We are fortunate to have a pair of opaline glass vases from the Baccarat factory here at M.S. Rau. Possessing all the desired qualities of the very best opaline pieces – vibrant hues, lux gilding and ornate design – these vases are all the more exceptional because they are a complete pair. Cartouche “windows” are expertly hand-painted to house bouquets of delicate flowers. They are eye-catching, even in a gallery full of remarkable items like we have here.
The peak of Baccarat’s opaline glass production was from 1850 – 1860, and these vases are dated to 1850. They are true masterworks of the Baccarat house and are vibrant pieces to behold. To learn more about these vases or M.S. Rau’s collection of Baccarat pieces, click here.