Léon François Comerre (French 1850-1916) A harem beauty holding a pink fan 46 3/4 x 30 1/2in (119 x 77.5cm)

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Lot 5
Léon François Comerre
(French 1850-1916)
A harem beauty holding a pink fan 46 3/4 x 30 1/2in (119 x 77.5cm)

US$ 150,000 - 200,000
£ 110,000 - 150,000
Léon François Comerre (French 1850-1916)
A harem beauty holding a pink fan
signed 'Léon Comerre' (upper left)
oil on canvas
46 3/4 x 30 1/2in (119 x 77.5cm)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Private collection, Sarasota, Florida (since 1960).


    Born on October 10, 1850, Comerre grew up in the city of Lille, where he began his formal art training at an early age. In 1868 he moved to Paris and enrolled in the studio of Alexandre Cabanel, who introduced him to exotic orientalist subjects and voluptuous nudes. He quickly distinguished himself as a talented painter and was recognized as a most promising student, thus gaining access to the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

    Comerre started exhibiting at the Paris Salon in 1871 and won the coveted Prix-de-Rome in 1875. That year marked a turning point in his career, with another gold medal awarded to him by the city of Lille and an additional medal from the Salon for a second painting. The official recognition brought financial rewards for the young painter, and his skills as society portraitist were in high demand.

    By the end of 1875, Comerre embarked on a tour of the Lowlands and a four year sojourn in Rome. Upon his return from Rome, Comerre continued to have a successful career, with mural commissions from the city of Paris and Lyon, and an expansion of his client base into the United States. He also exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, and the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts. He became a Knight of the Legion of Honour in 1903.

    Like many of his fellow painters, Comerre catered to the Orientalist taste of his contemporaries that was fueled by an all-encompassing European infatuation with the Near East. Although he never traveled beyond Europe, Comerre made use of the most common attributes of Orientalist paintings, such as intricate tile motifs and ornate silver jewelry, which he successfully incorporated into his portrait commissions. Thus, thanks to the painter's artistic license, a demure merchant's wife of the haute bourgeoisie becomes an exotic and alluring concubine amidst an opulent and colorful interior.

    While the sitter of the present painting is unknown, unlike Commere's commissioned portrait paintings, the model, her dress and the tiled wall are motifs employed in a few other of the artist's orientalist-themed paintings. His mastery of the craft is clearly apparent in the delicate treatment of the fan and the intricate wall carvings, as well as the subtle, varied hues of pink that dominate the composition.
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Léon François Comerre (French 1850-1916) A harem beauty holding a pink fan 46 3/4 x 30 1/2in (119 x 77.5cm)
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