signed and inscribed 'à Madame et Monsieur Rateau en toute cordialité L. Lévy Dhurmer' (lower left); and inscribed 'Constantinople' (on the verso)
pastel on paper
25 1/2 x 25 in. (64.8 x 63.5 cm.)
Artist or Maker
Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer (French, 1865-1953)
Paris, Autour de Lévy-Dhurmer, Visionnaires et intimistes en 1900, Grand Palais, 3 March-30 April 1973, p. 57, no. 83 (illustrated).
Exhibition Catalogue, Autor de Lévy-Dhurmer, Visionnaires et intimistes en 1900, Grand Palais, Paris, 3 March-30 April 1973, p. 57, no. 83 (illustrated).
Collection Auguste Rateau, Paris.
Collection Mrs. Davis, Paris.
Private collection, Paris.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
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Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer, born in Algeria in 1865, had a lifelong attraction to the Orient, where he travelled frequently. This fascination further deepened with his involvement in the Symbolist circles of Paris. For Dhurmer, pastel became the quintessential medium with which to express the ambience so dear to fin-de-siècle Symbolism. In this view of Constantinople, which Dhurmer visited in 1906, one sees influences ranging from Monet's series paintings to the vaporous technique of Whistler. Dhurmer has shrouded the city in a mysterious evanescent blue haze underlining the enigmatic aspect of the work and Constantinople itself as the gateway to the Orient.
Interestingly, this work is dedicated to Auguste Rateau (1863-1930) and his wife. In 1905, Rateau, a successful engineer and industrialist, commissioned a series of pastels from Dhurmer that were integrated within the Art Nouveau design - the wood panels of which were designed by Jacques Majorelle - of his apartment on the Champ-de-Mars in Paris. Rateau's dining room, with its luxuriant wooden vines and white pastel peacocks, is now featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
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