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The Male Form / William L'Engle (1884-1957) The Five Josephs 29 3/8 x 39 1/2 in. (74.6 x 100.3 cm.) (Painted in 1935.)

Lot 35
William L'Engle
The Five Josephs
7 June 2022, 10:00 EDT
New York

US$15,000 - US$25,000

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William L'Engle (1884-1957)

The Five Josephs
signed 'L'Engle.' (lower right)
oil and graphite on board
29 3/8 x 39 1/2 in. (74.6 x 100.3 cm.)
Painted in 1935.


Sale, Skinner, Inc., Marlborough, Massachusetts, September 22, 1995, lot 407A. (as A Provincetown Allegory)
Private collection, Boston, acquired at the above sale.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.

New York, Georgette Passedoit Gallery, November 1935.
Provincetown, Massachusetts, Provincetown Art Association, 1936.
Provincetown, Massachusetts, Provincetown Art Association & Museum, Lucy and William L'Engle, July 30-August 16, 1999, pp. 11, 14, illustrated.

Art News, November 9, 1935.

William L'Engle's The Five Josephs is powerful and cryptic, unlike other examples within L'Engle's oeuvre. It has been suggested that this work was inspired by Thomas Mann's (1875-1955) four-part novel, Joseph and His Brothers, in which Mann retells the stories of Genesis from Jacob to Joseph. L'Engle executed a watercolor version of The Five Josephs, likely a study for the present work, that presents the figures in nearly identical poses. L'Engle made only minor changes when painting the present work, such as depicting a phallic seashell on the shore at upper right rather than a starfish depicted in the watercolor version.

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