DescriptionHARVEY T. DUNN (American, 1884-1952)
Reclining Nude, 1939
Oil on canvas
25.5 x 39.5 in.
Signed lower right
This is without a doubt one of the most impressive nudes ever painted by Harvey Dunn, and it was one of Charles Martignette's favorite paintings.
As Mr. Martignette wrote, "In 1941 the Guild Artists Bureau of Manhattan invited all of the famous illustrators to submit a nude fine art painting for a public exhibition to be entitled 'Sexhibition.' The idea was that the American public could visit the show and actually vote on their favorite choices for first place in five different categories. In 1939 Harvey Dunn had painted the best nude of his life. Unlike his previous nudes, which were generally on the small side, this 'Fine Art,' museum-quality painting was an oil on canvas, and very large. Most of Dunn's previous nudes were either immediately sold or given away to friends. This one was Mr. Dunn's favorite which he had decided to keep for himself, so it seemed to be the most appropriate selection for him to submit to the show. When the show concluded, Dunn's sensuous reclining nude had won all five categories as the number one choice of the voting public. This caused so much press and media attention, Time magazine decided to run a feature story about Dunn and his provocative painting in the June 9, 1941 issue, with a great photograph of Harvey Dunn posing in front of his most famous nude oil painting."
According to Charles Martignette, the painting was purchased by a collector shortly after the 1941 exhibit, "by making Dunn an extremely attractive financial offer to facilitate the acquisition. For the next 50 years, Dunn's nude painting was never again seen by the American public."
Mr. Martignette acquired Dunn's famous nude painting in 1995.
From the Estate of Charles Martignette.
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