The French Nude

Today, our focus is a piece which involves two French artists.  The creator of the original painting, #JeanJacquesHenner (1829-1905) and the creator of the lithograph #JulesArmandHanriot (1853-1930).  Henner began his training when he was 12 years old. He debuted at the Paris Salon in 1863 and regularly exhibited for 40 years.  To begin with, a painter of biblical scenes and portraits, Henner is best known today for his portrayal of the nude female body.  His nudes are endowed with cream coloured skin and russet hair and he frequently set them against a draped blue cloth.  The Jean-Jacques Henner Museum can be visited in Paris and contains over 1500 canvases and drawings.

Weeping Nymph in Blue Cloth - lithograph by J A Hanriot after J J Henner @ 1900

Weeping Nymph in Blue Cloth – lithograph by J A Hanriot after J J Henner @ 1900

The lithograph displayed was created by Hanriot from Henner’s painting.  Hanriot was a fine artist in his own right.  He, also, was a superb lithographer and producer of prints.  He spent most of his artistic career creating for magazines and books but the plate shown here, I believe, was created for his own pleasure and enrichment.  The chiaroscuro or contrast between the milky white skin of the model and the dark of the forest focuses ones’ eyes on the weeping nymph.  While the fine shading produces subtle, imperceptible transitioning between colours and tones (called sfumato) beguiling the eye.  No hard lines delineate between light and dark – producing a vision as if an illusion or dream.  Setting forth a softness and tenderness of body and spirit which draws one in even deeper to look upon her sorrow and sadness and perchance to offer tenderness and consolation.

Off the bottom right corner of the lithograph it reads in pencil ‘apres Henner’ and below that J A Hanriot’s signature.   In the bottom left corner there reads ‘S 6’ which I take as State 6 for this plate.  I do not know if there was a limited run created from the plates.  The only other image I have seen of #WeepingNymphinBlueCloth is of Henner’s original painting.

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