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Lot 81: CHARLES CHAPLIN

19th Century European Art including Sporting Paintings

by Sotheby's

April 25, 2006

New York, NY, USA

Charles Chaplin (1825-1891) Please Register/Login to access your Invaluable Alerts

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Description: FRENCH, 1825-1891
HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME NOT

measurements
71 1/2 by 45 in.

alternate measurements
181.6 by 114.3 cm

signed Ch. Chaplin (lower right)

oil on canvas

NOTE

The present work derives from a long tradition of french decorative painting that stretches back to the seventeenth Century. In the Baroque period, artists frequently depicted scenes of the Loves of the Gods, often giving visual form to the mythological tales of Ovid. In the Rococo period, these images were secularized, substituting Greek gods with idealized happy peasants, or aristocrats playing the part of a peasant. Following the poetic idealization of Virgil's "Georgics", artists painted scenes of rustic love, joyfully untroubled by the complications of urban sophistication.

This picture floats easily between prototypes. The winged "putti" clearly allude to the mythological tradition epitomized by François Boucher (1703-1770), yet the figure is clearly a mortal woman, not an Olympian goddess. The subject's deshabillé and, more subtly, her bare foot's flirtation with the water's edge, express an abandonment of social strictures, but the sumptuous satin and linen mark this woman as someone of social distinction.

Highly decorative, this genre reached its height with the works of Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806) who provided patrons with multiple panels charting the progress of romantic love. The present work may well have comprised part of a similar series.

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