Jules Cyrille Cavé (French 1859-1940) La leçon de flûte 155 x 107 cm. (61 x 42 in.)

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Lot 102
Jules Cyrille Cavé
(French 1859-1940)
La leçon de flûte 155 x 107 cm. (61 x 42 in.)

Sold for £ 34,800 (US$ 47,855) inc. premium
Jules Cyrille Cavé (French 1859-1940)
La leçon de flûte
signed 'Jules.Cavé' (lower left)
oil on canvas
155 x 107 cm. (61 x 42 in.)

Footnotes

  • Jules Cavé was born in Paris on 14 January 1859. Today, sadly, too little biographical detail is recorded for the artist. His life appears to have been particularly peaceful and he was never one of those mundane artists whose work appeared in every salon of the day, neither was he the subject of scandal.

    A passion for art coupled with a keen disposition for drawing and painting led the young Cavé to begin his career as a painter in 1877, as a pupil of the Académie Julian. Here, he found himself among the pupils of William Bouguereau and Tony Robert-Fleury. He does not appear to have been taught by any other masters.

    He completed his studies at the Académie Julian in 1879. From a letter written by Bouguereau to his daughter, Henriette, in 1886, we know that Cavé had attended Bouguereau’s studio, rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs at about the same time as the Académie, and after this. In fact, Cavé became a close friend of Bouguereau’s, although the relationship was certainly not as close as the one his master shared with the Cot, Perrault, Bramtot or Delobbe families.

    There is virtually no information on Cavé’s professional activities between 1879 and 1885, when he presented the Portrait de M.C… as his first painting to the Paris Salon (no.495). Cavé married in March of the following year; he also presented two paintings at the Salon, one of which, Une martyre aux catacombes, earned him a medal of 'Troisième classe'. From then onwards, Cavé exhibited at the Paris Salon every year, with a few rare exceptions, until 1939. He died in Paris in 1940.

    This superb piece of painting by Jules Cavé, which we have titled La leçon de flûte, is apparently set in a remote Antiquity, in the mythical Arcadia which inspired so many artists. An elderly herdsman introduces a young boy to the art of flute playing, in an idealised pastoral scene which Virgil could not deny. It should be noted that, throughout his life, Bouguereau was similarly inspired by such bucolic motifs; Cavé’s piece may be compared to a painting by Bouguereau dated to 1873 in which, here again, a man of a certain age transmits his knowledge of the flute to a very young child.

    Everything indicates the extent to which Cavé was imbued with his master’s spirit and technique for painting, like so many of Bouguereau’s disciples who sought to imitate the artist’s style, his strokes, to use his materials, colours and brushes.

    La leçon de flûte does not appear to have been presented to the Paris Salon. The work may probably be regarded as an oeuvre of Cavé's youth, and more precisely to his first years as a professional artist, between 1879 and 1885. Indeed, it is from 1885/86 that the artist adopted a style of signature “alla romana”, which was inspired by his devotion to his master Bouguereau. La leçon de flûte shows the signature of the artist, such as it was before his Salon years. Cavé’s later work would depict idealised young women set in flowery and harmonious surroundings.

    We are grateful to Monsieur Damien Bartoli for his assistance in researching and cataloguing this lot.
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