Nymph and Bacchus by Renown Artist Jules Joseph Lefebvre
Original Photogravure Engraved by Goupil and Co.
Printed in 1881, The Masterpieces of French Art by Louis Viardot
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PRINT SIZE: Overall print size is 13.5″ x 11″
PRINT CONDITION: Condition is good, print has some light to moderate foxing.
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Bacchus, the god of wine of the Romans, was called Dionysius by the Greeks. He was said to be the son of Jupiter and Semele. The artist may have read the following passage in ” Tales of Ancient Greece :” “In the dark land beneath the earth, where wander the ghosts of men, lay Semeld, the daughter of Kadmos, while her child Bacchus grew up full of strength and beauty on the flowery plain of Orchemenos. On the land and on the sea strange things befel him; but from all dangers his own strong arm and the love of Zeus, his father, rescued him. Thus, throughout the land men spake of his beauty and his strength, and said that he was worthy to be the child of the maiden who had dared to look on the majesty of Zeus.”
Lefebvre has chosen his scene of Arcadian simplicity. The beautiful nymph plays with the boy, and the complacent look of the dilapidated statue, makes it appear as if he, too, enjoyed the sport.
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ABOUT JULES JOSEPH LEFEBVRE
Jules Joseph Lefebvre (Tournan, Gers, March 14, 1836 – Paris, February 24, 1912) was a French figure painter. Lefebvre entered the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in 1852 and was a pupil of Léon Cogniet. He won the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1861. Between 1855 and 1898, he exhibited 72 portraits in the Paris Salon. In 1891, he became a member of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts.
He was an instructor at the Académie Julian in Paris. He is chiefly important as an excellent and sympathetic teacher who numbered many Americans among his 1500 or more pupils. One of his famous students was the Scottish born landscape painter William Hart. Georges Rochegrosse, Félix Vallotton, the Americans Childe Hassam, John Henry Twachtman, John Noble Barlow, Augustus Kenderdine, and Charles A. Platt were also his pupils. He was long a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts. His paintings are usually single figures of beautiful women.
Among his best portraits were those of M. L. Reynaud and the Prince Imperial (1874). Among his many decorations were a first-class medal at the Paris Exhibition of 1878 and the medal of honor in 1886. He was a Commander of the Legion of Honor and a member of the Institut de France. (From wikipedia)
ABOUT GOUPIL & Cie.
Goupil & Cie was a leading art dealership in 19th-century France, with headquarters in Paris. Step by step, Goupil established a worldwide trade in fine art reproductions of paintings and sculptures, with a network of branches in London, Brussels, The Hague, Berlin and Vienna, as well as in New York and Australia. Instrumental for this expansion were the Ateliers Photographiques, a plant north of Paris, in Asnières, which took up work in 1869. The leading figure was Adolphe Goupil (1806–1893). His daughter Marie married the French artist Jean-Léon Gérôme.
After several partnerships from 1827 onwards, Adolphe Goupil formed Goupil & Cie in 1850. Over the next 34 years the partners were Adolphe Goupil 1850–84, Alfred Mainguet 1850–56, Léon Goupil 1854–55, Léon Boussod 1856–84, Vincent van Gogh 1861–72, Albert Goupil 1872–84, René Valadon 1878–84. Until 1861 the firm concentrated on buying, selling and editing prints. To feed an emerging middle-class market for inexpensive art, Goupil’s factory outside Paris employed skilled craftsmen to produce engraved, etched, photographic and even sculptural copies of paintings in vast quantities. Goupil’s reproductions made Jean-Léon Gérôme, in particular, a well known artist. When Vincent van Gogh (art dealer) (1820–1888), the uncle of painter Vincent van Gogh (who was known as Uncle Cent by Vincent and his brother Theo), entered the firm, the business was expanded to paintings and drawings, finally in 1872 to industrial images, including photographic and héliographic procedures.
Vincent van Gogh fell ill and retired in 1872, but left his money in the firm until 1878. His duties were taken over by Albert Goupil, son of Adolphe. When, in 1878, the van Gogh shares were finally withdrawn, René Valadon entered the business. From then on the firm was completely in the hands of the Goupil family and their sons-in-law Léon Boussod and René Valadon. In 1884 the Goupil family retired and the firm was again transformed and renamed Boussod, Valadon & Cie, successeurs de Goupil & Cie. Three years later, 25–27 May 1887, the stock of the gallery was sold at auction, “caused by the renewal of the ancient firm Goupil & Cie”.