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Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer (French, 1865-1953)
Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer (French, 1865-1953)

Femme nue

Details
Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer (French, 1865-1953)
Femme nue
signed 'L. Lévy Dhurmer' (lower left)
oil on canvas
25 3/8 x 17 7/8 in. (64.5 x 45.4 cm.)
Provenance
Acquired by the present owner in Lyon circa 1980.

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Lot Essay

Though primarily a solitary artist, Lévy-Dhurmer found commonality with the artists, writers, and musicians of the Symbolist movement, which formed to provide an intellectual alternative to the purely visual painting of the Impressionists. The Symbolists chose subject matter which would suggest complex emotional and spiritual ideas rather than compositions that could be immediately understood. After about 1900, Lévy-Dhurmer’s art begins to blur the lines between painting, music and poetry, and seeks to find ways to express the complex emotional and lyrical essence of these arts in his paintings. The result was a group of paintings and pastels in which the artist layered nuances of color and texture create a hazy, melodic atmosphere rather than concrete form or composition. The present work is part of a series of works in oil and pastel that the artist undertook around this time in which he sought to embody the auditory impressions created by the music of Beethoven, Fauré and Debussy through the female anatomy. Works like La Marche Funèbre, at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Brest and The Appassionata, at the Petit-Palais, Paris, are some of the best known of the other works in this series.

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