The Musée d’Orsay Acquires a Watercolor by Schwabe

1. Carlos Schwabe (1866-1926)
Medusa or The Cask of Hatred
Watercolor - 49.5 x 34.5 cm
Paris, Musée d’Orsay
Photo : Sotheby’s Paris

12/3/14 - Acquisitions - Paris, Musée d’Orsay - Troyes, Musée d’Art Moderne - Poitiers, Musée Sainte-Croix - French museums, unfortunately, were not very pro-active at the Félix Marcilhac auction which in fact broke all records. However, three establishments saved the day by coming away with acquisitions.
The first was the Musée d’Orsay which pre-empted one of two watercolors by Carlos Schwabe, La Méduse or The Cask of Hatred (ill. 1), for 49,500€ [1]. This is a superb work but with a rather frightening subject which would of course have fit in quite naturally in the exhibition Crime et châtiment... We see Medusa, in the guise of an old woman with a shrivelled body and an almost masculine likeness, holding the decapitated heads (at shoulder level, thus emphasizing the macabre tone of the scene) of two women by the hair, in a rocky landscape bathed in a pool of blood.
The work reproduces one of the illustrations in Les Fleurs du Mal exhibited at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 1897 (the book was published by Charles Meunier in 1900). Nevertheless, we should point out that Baudelaire in his poem The Cask of Hatred does not allude to Medusa in his text. The watercolor was probably produced just shortly after the illustration and is from the Gabriel Séailles collection bearing in fact a dedication to "Paul". The philosopher’s wife went by the name of Charles Paule Séailles as a painter (1855-1944). The dedication signed by Schwab without the final "e" allows us to date at least the inscription as being after 1908.

2. Maurice Marinot (1866-1926)
Covered jar, 1912
Glass with enameled décor - H. 26.5 cm
Troyes, Musée d’Art Moderne
Photo : Sotheby’s Paris

3. Chana Orloff (1888-1968)
Portrait of Sarah Lipska, 1825
Oil on canvas - 64.5 x 44.5 cm
Poitiers, Musée Sainte-Croix
Photo : Sotheby’s Paris

Also, the Musée d’Art Moderne in Troyes acquired a pot with cover by Maurice Marinot (ill. 2), in enameled glass, dated 1912, for 13,750€ and the Musée Sainte-Croix in Poitiers the painted portrait of Sarah Lipska, by Chana Orloff (ill. 3) for 27,500€.

Version française

Didier Rykner, mercredi 12 mars 2014


13/3/14 : This news item was modified after reaching Jean-David Jumeau-Lafond, an authority on the artist.


[1] All the prices listed here include charges.

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