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Lot 70: The artist's muse
19th Century Pictures
January 23, 2008
London, United Kingdom
Charles Chaplin (French, 1825-1891)
The artist's muse
signed 'Ch. Chaplin' (lower right)
oil on canvas
23 1/8 x 15 15/16 in. (58.7 x 40.5 cm.)
Property of a French Private Collector
Charles Chaplin achieved widespread success in the nineteenth century for his pictures of young beauties, of which this is a fine example. Although the saturated and delicate palette evokes that of Rococo masters such as François Boucher and Jean-Baptiste Greuze, the contemporary art critic Edmond About gave Charles Chaplin credit for having 'positively invented a genre of new, elegant, rich decoration'. The novelty of this genre was that the subject of these pictures was not the sitter herself, as in traditional portraiture, but rather the indulgent depiction of beauty for its own sake.
Chaplin's invention was a great popular success and his aesthetic was also 'in harmony with the luxury and comfort of modern palaces', attracting the admiration of Empress Eugénie, who commissioned the artist to decorate the interiors of le Palais de l'Élysée and the Tuileries.
Artist or Maker: Charles Chaplin (French, 1825-1891)