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Sir William Russell Flint, R.A., P.R.W.S., R.S.W. (1880-1969)
Sir William Russell Flint, R.A., P.R.W.S., R.S.W. (1880-1969)
Sir William Russell Flint, R.A., P.R.W.S., R.S.W. (1880-1969)
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Sir William Russell Flint, R.A., P.R.W.S., R.S.W. (1880-1969)
5 More
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF J.E. SAFRA
Sir William Russell Flint, R.A., P.R.W.S., R.S.W. (1880-1969)

The Judgement of Paris

Details
Sir William Russell Flint, R.A., P.R.W.S., R.S.W. (1880-1969)
The Judgement of Paris
signed 'W. RUSSELL FLINT-' (lower left) and further signed, inscribed and dated ' RA 1935 No 1 The Judgement of Paris/WRussell Flint-' (on the stretcher)
oil on canvas
47 x 69 ¼ in. (119.5 x 176 cm.)
Provenance
William Randolph Hearst.
with Spencer A. Samuels & Co., New York.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 18 July 1969, lot 75 (3,800 gns to D. Brook).
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 23 November 1993, lot 6, where purchased by the present owner.
Literature
Royal Academy Pictures, London, 1935, p. 50.
A. Palmer, More than Shadows: A Biography of William Russell Flint, London, 1943, pp. 34, 92, illustrated pl. 64.
'Modern British Pictures', Christie's Review of the Season 1994, London, 1994, p. 87, illustrated.
Exhibited
London, Royal Academy, 1935, no. 249.
Glasgow, Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, 1935, no. 180.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
These lots have been imported from outside the EU or, if the UK has withdrawn from the EU without an agreed transition deal, from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime.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.

Brought to you by

Sarah Reynolds
Sarah Reynolds

Lot Essay


The Judgement of Paris, initially derived from Homer’s Iliad, was a perennially popular subject for artists from the early 16th century onwards. In his biography More than Shadows Flint acknowledged ‘Everyone has to have a shot at this well-worn theme. This is one of mine.’ At the wedding feast of the Greek hero Peleus and his bride, the nymph Thetis, the snubbed goddess of discord, Eris, had cast a golden apple among the guests as a ‘prize’ for the most beautiful, to which Hera, Athena and Aphrodite all laid vehement claim. Zeus, declining to judge, ruled that the Trojan shepherd prince, Paris, should decide the winner. Each goddess famously promised the prince a tantalising prize: Hera offered to make him king of Europe and Asia; Athena, to give him wisdom and military prowess; and Aphrodite offered him the love of the world’s most beautiful woman, Helen of Sparta married to the Greek king Menelaus. In awarding Aphrodite the apple, Paris receives Helen but also gains the wrath of the Greeks, and thus sparks the Trojan War.
Flint has chosen to depict the moment before Paris makes his decision, portraying him deep in thought with his eyes fixed firmly on the apple before him rather than the three nude goddesses. He appears to be physically as well as mentally weighed down by the responsibility, unable to choose between the gifts on offer, and which of the powerful women to offend. The sheer scale of the painting and Flint’s preference for strong, primary colours overpower the viewer, and his positioning of the nude goddesses and their attendants at the centre of the image invite us to view what Paris cannot. Exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1935, Flint has updated the classical figures for a modern audience, giving the women short haircuts and the looks of the film stars and models of his day: goddesses of a new era.
It therefore seems unsurprising that one of the first owners of the picture was the multi-millionaire American newspaper magnate and business tycoon, William Randolph Hearst. Hearst spent vast amounts of money on art and antiques in the 1920s and 1930s for his celebrated properties San Simeon in California and St Donat's Castle in South Wales. Near insolvency led to the sale of much of his collection in the late 1930s. However, this painting still remained in Hearst’s possession in 1943 when Flint’s biography was published.

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