PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF JOAN B. KROC
Although he had some instruction in painting and drawing, Lucien Lévy began his artistic career as a lithographer and decorator, and from 1887 to 1885 was the artistic director of a stoneware factory in Golfe-Juan. In 1895, a visit to Italy renewed his interest in painting and led him to discover the work of the English Pre-Raphaelite painters such as Dante Gabriel Rosetti and Edward Coley Burne-Jones. He first came to the attention of the public when given a one-man show at Galerie Georges Petit in Paris in 1896, at which time he adopted the name Lévy-Dhurmer, a contraction of his mother's name, Goldhurmer.
After this initial success, Sâr Péladan invited the artist to exhibit at the Salon Rose+Croix, but he declined. The young artist felt more affinity to the Symbolist literati, and owned much of his fame to the Belgian Symbolist writer George Rodenbach, who was well-known in Paris for his poetry.
Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer's was a virtuoso draughtsman and colorist and this is particularly apparent in Adan and Even in the Garden of Eden. In this impressively complex composition with its myriad of beasts and foliage, the artist depicts the Fall of Man more as a symphony or poem rather than a painting. The layers and nuances of color and texture create a melodic atmosphere, and it is not surprising that the following year, Lévy-Dhurmer began in earnest to make the female anatomy render an equivalent of the auditory impressions of Beethoven, Fauré and Debussy's music. (The Moonlight Sonata, Musée d'Orsay, Paris; La Marche Funebre, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Brest; The Appassionata, Petit-Palais, Paris.)
Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden was painted three years after the success of Eve au Paradis at the Paris Salon 1897. Leon Thevenin, in La Renaissance Paeïenne (1898, p. 15) said, 'the woman exiled from Eden is a symbol of the pagan world, of the rule of nature and of the senses.'