Lot 87: *Jean Jules Antoine Lecomte du Nouy
Important 19th Century European Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture
October 31, 2000
New York, NY, USA
Description: (French, 1842-1923) MADEMOISELLE DE MAUPIN signed Lecomte du Nouy (lower right) oil on canvas 42 1/8 by 33 7/8 in. 107 by 86cm. Lecomte du Nouy was inspired by Theophile Gautier's novel Mademoiselle de Maupin of 1835-36. The action takes place at the end of the 17th century. The heroine of the novel decides to disguise herself as a man in order to know how men live and treat women, the discovery of which fills her with a sense of horror and eliminates any sentimental illusions. This painting illustrates a passage from chapter 16 at which point our heroine reveals her true gender to Count Albert de Baviere, who consequently falls in love with her. Mademoiselle de Maupin exclaims, "I am renouncing my men's attire for you, tomorrow I will resume my guise for all, think that I am Rosalinde only for the night." Lecomte du Nouy spent thirty years refining this painting. The young woman represents supreme and eternal beauty, the poet's muse. Lecomte du Nouy incorporated Theophile Gautier's traits in depicting Albert de Baviere, and Theophile Gautier's daughter, Judith, immediately recognized her father when she saw the painting. A preparatory sketch for this work was included in an exhibition entitled Lecomte du Nouy, Galerie Hahn, Paris, Sepetmber-October, 1995, No. 67 Exhibited: Paris, Salon de 1902, No. 1007, illustrated in the catalogue illustre, p. 2 Literature: Guy de Montgailhard, Lecomte du Nouy, Paris, 1906, p. 140, illustrated, p. 40.