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    Description

    HERMINE LAUKOTA (Czechoslovakian, 1853-1931)
    The Dying Painter, 1880
    Oil on canvas
    48 x 71 inches (121.9 x 180.3 cm)
    Signed and dated lower left: H. Laukota 1880
    Titled on label verso: Murillo als Chorknabe bei einem sterbenden Maler (Murillo as a choir boy with the dying painter)

    PROVENANCE:
    Majetek, p. Vil. Haeffnera, Wiesbaden (label verso);
    H.B. Wheeler (label verso);
    Private collection, Dallas.

    EXHIBITED:
    Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, 1948, no. 5-1948 (label verso).

    Although biographical information on the 19th-century Czech painter Hermine Laukota is scarce, it is evident from her extant works that she specialized in a realist style, particularly borrowing from the Spanish Old Masters, which she applied to historical subjects. A native of Prague, she trained as an etcher under Doris Raab and William Unger, developing a facility with line and tonal contrasts. Her etching Interior of a Synagogue recalls Goya's Caprichos in its moody chiaroscuro and focus on an individual's state of mind. Other etchings, such as Der Mikroskopiker, depicting a modern scientist at work, as well as many of her paintings, including The Singing Lesson with Claude Debussy, exemplify her interest in historical figures.

    An exceptional painting in her oeuvre, The Dying Painter clearly borrows from the Spanish realist tradition in its earth-toned palette and descriptive story. Here, within a monastery chamber, a dying painter draws the face of Christ on the wall beside his bed, while a grieving monk and censer-bearing altar boy attend to him. Laukota's hand-written label on the canvas verso suggests that the specific subject is a Spanish historical one, as well: "Murillo as a choir boy with the dying painter" could very well be describing the Spanish Baroque painter Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, a devotee of the Catholic Church, who began his art training at an early age after the death of his parents and who popularized both religious and realist subjects. Given its ambitious scale, historical figure, and theme of influence--a master painter influencing a young painter (Murillo) who, in turn, influenced a future painter (Laukota) -- The Dying Painter could have been executed for a specific 1880 exhibition.




    Condition Report*: Original canvas, slightly loose on stretcher, with fine craquelure in regions; minor paint loss along edges; one tiny puncture in upper left drapery; 1" vertical partial tear with accompanying paint loss beneath artist's sleeve; minor abrasion in door above monk's head; 4 x 7" repair along lower left edge and 5 x 9" repair along lower right edge; under UV examination, in-painting in the areas of repair along the bottom edge; scattered flecks of in-painting in the background (notably betwen the left curtain and painter); a vertical line of in-painting running through the painter's ear and back and a short, horizontal line to the right of the choirboy; in-painting along top and right edges; other small flecks (e.g., in painter's sleeve, near boy's mouth, and on right monk); possible reinforcing in the left curtain and right bed canopy; 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. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. 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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2011
    17th Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,771

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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