• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7656

    Nordic Art

    15 May 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 69

    Isaac Grünewald (Swedish, 1889-1946)

    Modell med handspegel (Model with hand mirror)

    Price Realised  


    Isaac Grünewald (Swedish, 1889-1946)
    Modell med handspegel (Model with hand mirror)
    oil on canvas
    35½ x 40 1/8 in. (90 x 120 cm.)
    Painted in 1912

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    The authenticity of this work has kindly been confirmed by Bernhard Grünewald.

    This beautiful painting by Isaac Grünewald, Modell med Handspegel (Model with a hand mirror) reworks a classic theme in art history: the reclining nude on a divan or bed. Diego Velasquez' The Rokeby Venus (c. 1647-51), where a nude Venus is shown from her back looking at the spectator in a mirror held up by Cupid, inspired a series of variations, including Edouard Manet's Olympia (1863, pictured .....). Manet's painting created a stir for its bold display of eroticism, with the model's nudity highlighted by her clothed maid, delivering flowers from a suitor. Grünewald's work, by comparison, is far more decorative and serene. His colourful, expressive style and soft brushstrokes are reminiscent of both Amedeo Modigliani and Henri Matisse, who was Grünewald's teacher when he studied in Paris at the age of nineteen. Like Velasquez' Venus, his model looks in a mirror. However, rather than looking at the viewer, she looks at herself. Holding the mirror with one hand, she holds her breast in another, but she seems lost in peaceful contemplation, as if in a trance. Her calm beauty is matched by the appealing colours of the bedlinen and the yellow flowers and tablecloth behind her, suggesting intimacy, comfort and gentle yearnings.

    Special Notice

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    Private collection, Sweden.
    Galleri Boman, Stockholm.
    Acquired through the above by the present owner circa 1982-83.


    Stockholm, Liljevalchs, Det sjungande trädet, Isaac Grünewald 100 ar, 8 September - 5 November 1989, no. 30; this exhibition later travelled to Norrköpings Konstmuseum and Brandts Klaedefabrik, Odense.
    Boras, Boras Konstmuseum/Kulturhuset, Det sjungande trädet, 11 February - 8 April 1990, no. 30.