Louis Anquetin 1861-1932
N05252 Two Studies for 'The Three Graces' c.1899
Oil on canvas, 24 1/4 x 30 1/4 (61.5 x 77)
Purchased from the Leicester Galleries (Knapping Fund) 1941
Prov: Charles Conder, London; with Leicester Galleries, London; Walter Sickert, London; with Leicester Galleries, London
Exh: Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture by Modern Artists, Leicester Galleries, London, July-September 1934 (70); The Tate Gallery's Wartime Acquisitions, National Gallery, London, April-May 1942 (2); A Selection from the Tate Gallery's Wartime Acquisitions, CEMA touring exhibition, September 1942-September 1943 (2)
Repr: Studio, CXXIV, 1942, p.14; John Rothenstein, Modern Foreign Pictures in the Tate Gallery (London 1949), pl.78
This picture consists of a pair of studies for a life-size painting which in 1953 was still in the possession of Mme C. du Ferron-Anquetin in Paris; the final picture (of which there is a photograph in the Gallery's files) follows the left-hand study very closely. Mme du Ferron-Anquetin said that 'The Three Graces' was to form part of the decoration of a room in the house of Anquetin's parents at Etrépagny, but was the only one of the four projected paintings that was ever executed. Anquetin also made an ornate fireplace in plaster treated to look like faience.
The influence of Rubens, for whom the artist developed a great admiration, is clearly seen here. The general composition recalls 'The Three Graces' in the Vienna Academy where the Graces, painted by Rubens, support in similar fashion a basket of roses painted by Jan Breughel, but the figures themselves are more closely related to those in Rubens' 'The Three Graces' in the Prado.
Charles Conder was a friend and pupil of Anquetin, who probably gave him this work as a present.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.16, reproduced p.16