Details
Charles Edward Hallé (1846-1914)
The Archer
signed 'C. E. Hallé' (lower left) and further signed and indistinctly inscribed 'C.E. Hallé Esq/The Avenue Studio/.... Road' (on a partial label attached to the reverse)
oil on canvas
36 x 28 in. (91.5 x 71.1 cm.)
Provenance
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, New York, 23 October 2007, lot 206.
Exhibited
London, New Gallery, 1909, West Room, unnumbered.

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Lot Essay

Charles Edward Hallé was the son of the German born pianist and composer, Sir Charles Hallé, and while born in Paris, he emigrated to England with his parents in the face of the revolution in 1848. After beginning his studies at the Royal Academy schools, Hallé moved back to France aged sixteen to study under Victor Mottez, a pupil of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Hallé later travelled in Italy due to ill health, where he became attracted to the neo-classical style art that he saw there. It was upon returning to London that Hallé first met Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones and was exposed to the aesthetic style of the Pre-Raphaelites, with which Hallé subsequently aligned himself.
Hallé’s legacy as an artist is perhaps overshadowed by his more well-known participation in opening the Grosvenor Gallery, which he founded in New Bond Street with Joseph Comyns Carr and Sir Coutts Lindsay in 1877, as an avant-garde alternative to the more traditional Royal Academy. However, after the Grosvenor was plunged into financial and bureaucratic difficulties, Hallé and Carr left to set up the New Gallery in 1888 on Regent Street. The New Gallery saw continued loyalty from the Grosvenor Gallery artists, with Burne-Jones serving on the Consulting Committee. Burne-Jones also lent several works for the opening on 8 May 1988. Hallé continued to paint, and exhibited the present lot at the New Gallery in 1909.
Within this work, Hallé demonstrates his interest in classical themes by depicting Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt and nature. Though tackling a mythological subject, Hallé stylistically expresses his alignment with the Pre-Raphaelites through Diana’s flowing auburn hair, pale porcelain skin and green eyes. Here the huntress turns on the viewer, gazing coolly out of the picture plane, with her bow and arrow trained on the spectator. This action is perhaps a subversion of the famous tale of Diana and Actæon as recounted in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. In the story, while out on a hunt, Actæon stumbles upon Diana bathing with her nymphs. Enraged at having been seen in such a state of undress, Diana turns the hapless hunter into a deer, whereupon he is promptly hunted by his own hounds as punishment for his indiscretion. In the present lot, Diana embodies strong and vengeful womanhood, as she is now placed in the position of power and confrontation. This subject was perhaps selected by Hallé due to the theme of female liberation, which was then at the fore in contemporary society, owing to the gathering momentum of the suffragette movement.
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