• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7438

    19th Century European Art

    23 January 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 57

    Eugène Carrière (French, 1849-1906)

    Portrait of the artist's sister, Marie

    Price Realised  

    Eugène Carrière (French, 1849-1906)
    Portrait of the artist's sister, Marie
    signed, inscribed and dated 'a ma soeur marie/Eugène Carrière 1905' (lower left) and dated again '31 Octobre 1905' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    16 1/8 x 13 in. (41 x 33 cm.)
    Painted on 31 October 1905.

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    Pre-Lot Text


    Eugène Carrière turned to his large and close family as models for his art. The following works depict his wife, sister and child. But these were not simply sensitive portraits of his loved ones; in the work of Eugène Carrière, the individual also represents the universal. Thus, as in the present pictures, the figures are often posed in an almost formless environment, merging with their surroundings.

    As Carrière approached death, he increasingly veiled his works in a reddish mist, whilst his subtle and earth-toned palette was muted as he sought to capture the effects of light and tone. He used his mastery of chiaroscuro to create human features with light, and the universe with shadow, merging the two with broad, circular brushstrokes that frame the faces and bodies of his subjects. This is particularly evident in the Portrait of the artist's sister, Marie, which was the last work ever produced by the artist, painted on the eve of an operation that left him incapacitated until his death a few months later. The furious but firm brushstrokes evoke Carrière's last words, addressed to and recorded by his family: 'Aimez-vous avec frénésie' - 'love each other wildly'.