Sold for $87,500
oil on canvas
signed lower left.
60-1/2" x 68", framed 70-1/2" x 78-1/4"
Provenance: Sotheby's, London, November 21, 1989, lot 67; Kurt E. Schon, Ltd. Gallery, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Notes: The parent painting to this composition debuted at the Brussels Salon in 1875 and the Paris Salon of 1876 to much acclaim and consternation, and catapulted Hermans' career in the art scene as a painter of theater and masquerade balls. The original painting, now conserved at the Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, includes a figural group to the left comprised of factory workers headed to work at dawn when they encounter the bonvivants - notably the debauched nobleman with women of ill-repute (high-class prostitutes redolent of Zola's Nana). At the time, the painting was praised for its scathing social critique rendered in the large-scale landscape format reserved for important historical paintings. Numerous reviews also read "race" into class division, claiming that the fair complexion of the proletarian represented the Flemish/Germanic right; whereas the swarthy partygoers represented the debauched Latin/Gallic left. Regardless of interpretation, the composition was a sensational tour-de-force of French/Belgian Realism in league with other prominent French Realist scenes of theater loges and cafes by Manet, Renoir and Degas, and produced numerous more interpretation of this fin-de-siecle theme, including this period copy, in which the proletariat are omitted from the scene, leaving just the revelers leaving the bal masque at dawn. Sotheby's 1989 catalogue entry speculates that this copy by the artist was apparently commissioned by the central male figure, whom they do not name, who is not named in the Salon reviews, but who does indeed bear a striking resemblance to the artist himself.
**In professionally restored condition. Canvas relined. MInor inpainting touch-ups throughout. The fan extensively inpainted. Upper middle old seam line with inpainted fillers. Very faint craquelure.
Frame with separation cracks in corners and minor nicks and abrasions.