Jean-Léon Gérôme (French, 1824-1904)
Jean-Léon Gérôme (French, 1824-1904)

Nu se devoilant

Jean-Léon Gérôme (French, 1824-1904)
Nu se devoilant
signed 'J. L Gerome' (on the base)
white marble
height: 39 in. (99 cm.)
Joey and Toby Tanenbaum; Sotheby's, New York, 26 May 1994, lot 44.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
M. Boullaire, Inventaire après décès de Monsieur Gérôme; p. 50, item. 382.
G. Ackerman, La vie et l'oeuvre de Jean-Léon Gérôme, 2nd Ed., Paris, 2000, p. 406, no. 73.2 (illustrated p.407).

Lot Essay

Gérôme was fifty-four and a long-established painter when he took up the vocation of a sculptor. His first piece was exhibited in the Salon of 1878 and was a large bronze group, The Gladiators, now in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris. The presentation of such a commanding and successful work as a debut seems astonishing until one recalls that solid structure and great volumes of the artist's painted figures. Before he died at the age of eighty, Gérôme had produced more than seventy-five sculptures, many on a grand scale and in many genres. He modeled his figures in plaster, and the plasters were then enlarged for reproduction in marble or reduced for reproduction in ivory by professional craftsmen, or practiciens.

However, Gérôme's greatest accomplishment as a sculptor was his presentation of the female nude. His nudes are strong in structure, fleshy while still bony, realistic in detail while idealized in planes, almost always enlivened by a thought or action, and incredibly attractive.

In the inventory list of Gérôme's atelier from January 25, 1904, three figures in white marble are listed (Inventaire apres le dicis de Monsieur Gérôme. M. Boullaire, Notaire, Paris, quai Voltaire 5, p. 50, item 382). It is assumed that the present marble is one of those mentioned.

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