Description

    FREDERICK WILLIAM MACMONNIES (American, 1863-1937)
    The Mask, 1902
    Oil on canvas
    50 x 83 inches (127 x 210.8 cm)
    Signed lower right: Frederick MacMonnies

    PROVENANCE:
    Marjorie MacMonnies Young;
    Post Road Gallery, Larchmont, New York;
    Private collection, New York

    EXHIBITED: Durand-Ruel, 1903, no. 16

    LITERATURE:
    M. Smart, A Flight with Fame: The Life and Art of Frederick MacMonnies, Madison, 1906, pp. 208, 325.

    MacMonnies flourished during the artistic renaissance of America's Gilded Age. His formal training at the National Academy of Design, the Cooper Union, the Art Students League, and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris familiarized MacMonnies with the great works of previous generations, and enabled him to respond to European masterpieces with a uniquely American voice.

    The Mask
    is reminiscent of Edouard Manet's Olympia of 1863, but in it MacMonnies has nearly inverted the meaning of Manet's painting. He returned his female nude to the established classical standard, idealizing her. Unlike Olympia, this female nude smiles at the bouquet of flowers being presented to her and is physically available to the advances of the male caller. She has removed her mask and is completely exposed before us, her right leg and the cascade of sheets spilling forward in obvious invitation. According to family legend, The Mask debuted at the 1903 Durand-Ruel show, but the painting stirred so much controversy prior to the opening that was shown only to gentleman in a separate room.


    Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000.

    Condition Report*:

    Surface dirt, original canvas, otherwise good condition.

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2008
    20th-21st Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
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