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Fernand Cormon (1845 - 1924)

Lot 83: Fernand Cormon (French, 1845-1924)


June 17, 1999
London, United Kingdom

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The deposed Favourite signed and dated 'F.Cormon 70.' (lower left) oil on canvas 21.3/8 x 25 in. (54.3 x 64.7 cm.) Painted in 1870 LITERATURE L. Thornton, Women as Portrayed in Orientalist Painting, Paris, 1985, p. 187 (illustrated). NOTES One of the leading pompier artists of the Third Republic, Fernand Cormon achieved considerable success from the outset of his career. He trained under Jean Portaels in Brussels before moving to Paris to study first with Alexandre Cabanel then with Eugne Fromentin. These three very different characters and styles all left their mark on the young artist and when, in 1868, Cormon made his debut at the Salon, his Orientalist canvases were very well received. Painted in 1870, early in his career, The deposed Favourite portrays the cut-throat world of the harem. There was often intense rivalry and power struggles between the kadins, or favourites, who aspired to higher rank and greater power and who would employ any means to achieve it. This intrigue led to plots of bribery, extortion and frequently, as in Cormon's 1874 masterpiece, Jealousy in the Seraglio, murder. In the present work, as the old kadin begs for clemency from the eunuch's waiting axe, 'the new favourite seems singularly unconcerned about the fate of her old rival' (L. Thornton, op. cit., p. 187).

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Ottoman & Orientalist

June 17, 1999, 12:00 AM EST

London, United Kingdom