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ARMAND POINT (FRENCH, 1860-1932)
ARMAND POINT (FRENCH, 1860-1932)
ARMAND POINT (FRENCH, 1860-1932)
ARMAND POINT (FRENCH, 1860-1932)
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ARMAND POINT (FRENCH, 1860-1932)

La Sirène

Details
ARMAND POINT (FRENCH, 1860-1932)
La Sirène
signed and dated 'APoint/1897' (lower left)
oil on canvas, feigned arch
36 ¼ x 28 ¾in. (92 x 73 cm.)
Provenance
with Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 1899.
with The Piccadilly Gallery, London, by 1968.
with Michael Hasenclever, Munich, by 1973.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 27 June 1988, lot 739.
Literature
J. Daurelle and P. Fort, Armand Point et son oeuvre, Paris, 1901, pp. 21,26, illustrated.
Ph. Jullian, Esthètes et Magiciens, Paris, 1969, p.208, no. 65, illustrated.
Ph. Jullian, Dreamers of Decadence: Symbolist Painters of the 1890s, London, 1971, p.222, no. 126, illustrated.
J. Milner, Symbolists and Decadents, London, 1971, p. 82.
E. Lucie-Smith, Symbolist Art, New York, 1972, p. 116, no. 89, illustrated.
R. J. Goldwater, Symbolism, London, 1979, p. 190-1, no. 142, illustrated.
R. Doré, Armand Point De l'orientalisme au symbolisme, Paris, 2010, pp.72,74, fig. 60, illustrated.
M. Slavkin, Dynamics and Divisions at the Salons of The Rose-Croix: Statistics, Aesthetic Theories, Practices and Subjects, Ph.D. dissertation, New York, 2014, pp.218-219, 374, fig. 5.1, illustrated.
Exhibited
London, The Piccadilly Gallery, Les Salons de la Rose + Croix, Summer 1968, no. 92.
Turin, Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna, Il Sacro e il Profano nell Arte dei Simbolisti, June - August 1969, p. LI, no. 194, illustrated p.172.
Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, The Sacred and Profane, Symbolist Art, 1 – 26 November 1969, p. XLIX, no. 177, illustrated p.159.
London, The Piccadilly Gallery, Symbolists 1860-1925, 2 June – 4 July 1970, no. 66 (illustrated in colour on the cover).
Eastbourne, The Towner Art Gallery, Symbolists, September – October 1970.
New York, Spencer A. Samuels, Symbolists, November 1970, p, 61, no. 125.
London, Hayward Gallery, French Symbolist Painters, 7 June – 23 July 1972, also Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, 9 August – 17 September 1972, p.99, no. 198, lent by The Piccadilly Gallery.
Munich, Michael Hasenclever, Symbolismus, 26 October – 24 November 1973, no. 54.
Special Notice

These lots have been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Lot Essay


Armand Point was born in Algiers and started his artistic career painting local scenes. He became a pupil of Auguste Clement Joseph Herst, and participated in the first Nabi group exhibition. He was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites as well as by the great Florentine masters such as Botticelli. He exhibited at the Salon de la Rose + Croix from 1892-6. The frame for this work was designed by Point according to the Picadilly Gallery in 1970.
The work of Point reflects his interest in the imaginary world and particularly the symbolism of the Middle Ages. In 1894 his trip to Italy brought him into direct contact with the Renaissance. He came under the influence of Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci and it was this passion for the Italian Renaissance that was to make him perhaps the only French Pre-Raphaelite. He studied the theories of William Morris and John Ruskin and opened a craft studio called Haute-Claire at Marlotte.
'According to Homer, the Sirens inhabited a rocky island between Æa and the Rock of Scylla. They enchanted passing sailors with their song, causing the boats to founder on the rocks. When, after his escape from Circe, Odysseus arrived at the Sirens' rock, he followed Circe's advice by stuffing wax into his companions' ears and tying himself to the main mast, thereby hearing the Sirens' song, while escaping the fate of other mariners' (Homer, The Odyssey, Book XII, II.39 ff.; II.66 ff.).
Although most classical writers mention two or three Sirens, Armand Point only illustrates one, emphasising her qualities of enchantment by showing her gambolling on a seahorse at the moment Odysseus's boat appears between the rocks, Apollo emblazoned on the sail. The combination of academic nude, Burne-Jones draperies, Botticelli hair, the Leonardo head-dress and rocky background emphasises the renovatory role claimed of Point by Émile Bernard: "The most exciting aspect of Armand Point's career has been to be one of the first, if not the first, amongst the Renovators of Art, to have returned to the springs of art, to have sounded their depths, and to have bravely brought back a cup of this wonderful water whose diamond-like limpidness is the mirror so beloved of the Gods" (Francis Lepeseur, Rénovation Esthétique, no. 9, January 1906, "Les Artistes rénovateurs-Armand Point", p. 144 ff.).

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