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Ernest Normand

(1857 -  1923 ) Wikipedia® : Ernest Normand
NORMAND Ernest Portrait Of A Seated Lady

Dec 8, 2010
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Artworks in Arcadja

Some works of Ernest Normand

Extracted between 11 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Ernest Normand - Portrait Of A Seated Lady

Ernest Normand - Portrait Of A Seated Lady



Net Price
Lot number: 2002
Lot 2002

Ernest Normand (French, 1857-1923)
oil on canvas,
Portrait of a seated lady,
signed verso,

26.5 x 20in.

Estimate £200-300

Oil on original canvas, still tight but now very dark and dirty with a fine but stable craquelure throughout, some dark bitumous bubbling notably across the top of the picture, a few tiny flakes of paint breaking away above her head and below her ear. Apparently unsigned on the front, but signed verso. No other labels or details of sitter, in a slim gilt frame dating to c.1900.,

Descriptions provided in both printed and on-line catalogue formats do not include condition reports. The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Interested bidders are strongly encouraged to request a condition report on any lots upon which they intend to bid, prior to placing a bid. All transactions are governed by Gorringes Conditions of Sale.
Ernest Normand - Bondage

Ernest Normand - Bondage

Original 1895


Lot number: 40
Ernest Normand (British, 1857-1923)
signed and dated 'Ernest Normand 1895' (lower left)
oil on canvas
71 5/8 x 120 7/8 in. (182 x 307 cm.)
Bought from the artist by Christopher Henry Hawkins ofTrewithen, Cornwall.
By descent to his widow.
A gift of the above to the Royal Institution of Cornwall in1909.
H. Blackburn (ed.), Academy Notes 1895, London, 1895, pp. 23,137 (illustrated).
Royal Academy Pictures, London, 1895, p. 76 (illustrated).
Times, 1 June 1895, p. 14.
Athenaeum, no. 3430, 22 June 1895, p. 811.
R. Jope Slade, 'The Royal Academy of Arts, 1895', in Art Journal,1895, p. 177.
M.H. Spielmann, 'The Royal Academy Exhibition - III', Magazine ofArt, 1895, p. 324.
C. Dakers, The Holland Park Circle: Artists and Victorian Society,Yale, 1999, p. 221.
London, Tate Britain; Munich, Haus der Kunst; New York, BrooklynMuseum of Art; and Kobe, Kobe City Museum, Exposed: The VictorianNude, 2001-3, no. 152.
Lot Notes
Ernest Normand and his wife Henrietta Rae were exponents of aninternational style that reflected their partial training abroad.The greatest example of this phenomenon was Frederic, LordLeighton, who had enjoyed an exhaustive apprenticeship in almostevery capital in Europe in the 1840s and '50s; but following hiselection as president of the Royal Academy in 1878, many youngartists who had studied initially in the RA Schools went on tocomplete their education in Paris or elsewhere. Normand and Raewent in 1890, spending several months at the Académie Julian inParis, working under two of its best-known teachers, Jules Lefèbvreand Benjamin Constant, before joining an international circle ofyoung artists, most of them experimenting with degrees ofimpressionism, at Grez, near Fontainebleau. Friends andcontemporaries of the pair who followed a similar course includedArthur Hacker, H.H. La Thangue, Stanhope Forbes, Herbert Draper andSolomon J. Solomon, whose masterpiece Eve was sold in these Roomson 16 December 2009 (lot 27).
One of Normand's largest and most ambitious works, Bondage wasexhibited at the RA in 1895, when he was thirty-eight. Though bornin London, he had been sent to Germany at the age of thirteen toreceive a formal education and study commercial law. Returning toEngland in 1876, he entered his father's office, but his interestin art had been aroused in Germany and during the next few years heattended evening classes at the St Martin's School of Art whiledrawing from the antique in the British Museum. By 1880 he haddecided to become an artist and entered the RA Schools. His firstcontribution to the summer exhibition, a 'study' representingSorrow, was made the following year.
In view of Normand's devotion to historical subjects, it isinteresting that the teacher who particularly encouraged him at theRA Schools was the Scotsman John Pettie, a specialist in historicalgenre in a bold and fluent style who had been an Academician since1873. But such themes had always been central to the academictradition, even if they were at long last going out of fashion, andNormand's mentors included many exponents. His teachers atBurlington House included the leading Academicians, whileLeighton's influence pervaded the whole culture within which hisart education was unfolding. In 1884 he and Henrietta Rae, who hadmet as students a decade earlier, eventually married, and thefollowing year they took a studio in Holland Park Road, Kensington,at the heart of the artistic community over which Leighton presidedwith Olympian aplomb. It must have seemed a good career move at thetime, and the couple did indeed enjoy close relations withLeighton, Val Prinsep, G.F. Watts and other local luminaries, allof whom took a keen interest in their work and showered them withadvice. Eventually so much supervision, however well-intentioned,proved irksome, and in 1893 the couple moved to Upper Norwood,building themselves a glass-walled studio conducive to the pleinair effects they had sought to capture since their stay at Grez.However, they still looked to Leighton for advice, and in the lastyears of his life they joined him in painting murals illustratingscenes from English history in the Royal Exchange in the City ofLondon. Normand chose to paint King John signing Magna Carta andRae The Charities of Sir Richard Whittington, the medieval mayor ofLondon who was famous for his philanthropy no less than for hiscat.
Bondage was painted soon after the move to Norwood, but Normand hadbeen interested in the theme of the female slave trade long beforethat. In fact he had already treated it in at least two earlierpictures shown at the RA, The Bitter Draught of Slavery of 1885(fig. 1) and An Alien, which followed in 1894. What was new aboutBondage was its enormous scale. Perhaps the artist felt liberatedby the larger studio that he and Rae had built at their new home.On the other hand, the picture seems to have been conceived as asort of pendant to an equally colossal canvas that Rae completed atNorwood but started before they left Holland Park Road. Herpicture, Psyche before the Throne of Venus, also treated the themeof woman's ignominious subjection. It was shown at the RA in 1894,a year before Bondage, and bought by that great late Victoriancollector George McCulloch.
The subject of women sold into slavery, or simply bound or chained,fascinated the Victorians. The roots of the phenomenon wereprobably complex and have certainly been widely sought: inimperialism, the developing study of ethnology, widespread concernabout white slavery and child prostitution, and of course thesexual allure of the images and the prurience they arouse. Thesubject is discussed by Richard Jenkyns in Dignity and Decadence:Victorian art and the Classical Inheritance, London, 1991, pp.26-30, 115 ff, and by Alison Smith in her account of Bondage in theExposed exhibition held at Tate Britain in 2001.
Whether Normand's commitment to the theme had any particular motiveor simply showed his keen eye to a ready market, he must have beenaware of the iconographical tradition within which he was working.It is no accident that some of the earliest treatments were insculpture, when the artist could exploit the licence allowed him bythe conventions of the medium: white marble, neoclassical form, andso on. The Greek Slave by the American Hiram Powers was one of themost famous statues of the day. Unveiled in London as early as1845, it reappeared at the Great Exhibition six years later.Elizabeth Barrett Browning famously praised it for its 'passionlessperfection', and it achieved widespread popularity through avariety of Parian versions on a reduced scale. It also inspiredcomparable works by the English sculptor John Bell, which againwere much reproduced by Minton's for the domestic market.
But it was not long before the field was being colonised bypainters. Many of them presented their protagonists in theacceptable context of classical legend or medieval romance, thuscombining, as William Michael Rossetti put it, 'ancient fact andmodern innuendo'. Between 1870 and 1891 Poynter, Leighton andBurne-Jones all treated the theme of Andromeda chained to her rock,while knights rescuing bound maidens were painted by Millais(1870), Dicksee (1885) and others. Normand must often have seenthese productions at the RA or its more progressive rivals, theGrosvenor and New Galleries.
But the picture which perhaps impressed him most did not attempt tocloak bondage in mythic form; on the contrary, it positivelyrevelled in its anecdotal possibilities, and 'modern innuendo' wasalmost all too evident. Edwin Long's Babylonian Marriage Market(fig. 2), illustrating a passage in Herodotus which describes howgirls of marriageable age were auctioned off to would-be husbands,caused a sensation when it appeared at the RA in 1875. Enormous inscale and still generally considered the artist's masterpiece, itwas the undisputed picture of the year. Crowds flocked to see it,and critics vied with one another to sing its praises and show offtheir erudition with long accounts of the subject and detaileddescriptions of how it had been rendered on canvas. Long's electionto associate membership of the RA was confidently predicted, andindeed followed a year later.
Normand was still a law student in Germany when this excitementoccurred, but news of it may well have reached him. In any case, hewould have had another chance to see the picture when, followingthe death of its first owner, the Lancashire cotton master and EastIndia merchant Edward Hermon, it came up for sale at Christie's on13 May 1882. Hermon's was one of the most important collections ofacademic paintings to be formed in the mid-Victorian period, andits dispersal aroused great interest, 'some thousands of persons',according to the Times, viewing it at Christie's King Streetpremises. Speculation about the Babylonian Marriage Market, themost famous picture in the sale, was particularly intense, andhopes for a good price were not disappointed. 'Loud cheering' brokeout when the hammer fell at 6,300 guineas, a saleroom record for awork by a modern British artist that was not to be broken untilLandseer's Monarch of the Glen changed hands for 6,900 guineas,again at Christie's, in 1892. Normand could hardly have had a moregraphic demonstration of how successful an enormous painting on thetheme of enslaved women could be.
The reverse of that theme was the concept of the femme fatale,woman as predatory vampire, that enjoyed such a phenomenal vogueduring the Symbolist period. As the phrase suggests, this wasparticularly the case in France, so it is no surprise that thevictimisation of women found pictorial expression there too. Thename that leaps to mind in this context is that of Jean-LéonGérôme, to whose edgy, unsettling vision the subject was perfectlytailored (fig. 3). As it happens, two versions of his composition AVendre, showing naked women offered for sale in Cairo, wereexhibited in London in the early 1870s, one at the RA in 1871, theother two years later at Ernest Gambart's French Gallery in PallMall. Normand was perhaps too young to have seen them but when hewent to study in Paris in 1890 he would have encountered accountsof harems and female enslavement on an almost daily basis. BenjaminConstant, one of his teachers at Julian's, had visited Morocco in1872 in the entourage of the French ambassador to the Sultan.Fascinated by the country, he remained two years, and on his returnestablished himself as a leading Orientalist painter. Harem andother subjects, full of eastern beauties, were his stock in trade,while his Pigalle studio was encrusted with picturesque Moroccanartefacts collected on his travels. All this must have made a bigimpression on Normand. It was almost certainly Constant who advisedhim to visit Morocco himself in 1891, and the master's influence onhis subsequent work is often apparent. Bondage is a key example,not only in terms of its subject matter but the 'open' composition,with its multiple points of focus across the rectangular canvas.The reviewer in the Times recognised as much; his description ofthe picture is a 'vast exercise in the manner of Benjamin Constant,is highly appropriate.
Crucial as the experience of Constant's atelier must have been forNormand, it should not be forgotten that he had painted his BitterDraught of Slavery (fig. 1), a major tribute to the theme ofcaptive womanhood, a full five years before he went to Paris. Thatpicture, moreover, had been exhibited at just about the time thathe joined the Holland Park circle of artists gathered roundLeighton, and belongs to a group of large canvases showing women asvictims of humiliation or violence which this coterie produced inthe late 1880s.
Leighton's own all-important offering was Captive Andromache (Fig.4), the enormous processional painting, arguably his masterpiece,that he showed at the RA in 1888. This moving account of the fateof Hector's widow, carried off as a trophy to Thessaly by the sonof Achilles, her husband's slayer, was on the easel for well over ayear, and Normand must have watched its progress almost from themoment he became Leighton's neighbour in 1885. It would probablynot have inspired The Bitter Draught, exhibited that spring,although it is perhaps worth noting that Leighton had beencontemplating Captive Andromache since the early 1870s; but atleast it would have confirmed a pre-existing penchant for this typeof subject. Like Long's Babylonian Marriage Market, it would alsohave shown that it could be treated on a heroic scale, a lessonthat dramatically bore fruit in Bondage.
Meanwhile two contemporaries of Normand's who had settled near himin Holland Park Road were making their own contribution to thegenre. Herbert Schmalz, Normand's senior by a year, had taken astudio there in 1880, and in 1888, the year of Captive Andromache,he sent his Faithful unto Death: 'Christianae and Leones!' to theRA (fig. 5). Sold in these Rooms on 28 November 2000 (lot 55), thisgruesome picture shows a row of naked girls, each chained to apost, awaiting death by being eaten by lions in the Coliseum atRome, a type of subject which, as critics noted at the time, hadbeen much treated by Gérôme. This picture is not only exactlycontemporary with Captive Andromache but has a logisticalconnection; the sitter for the foremost girl seems to be one of thePullan sisters who were among Leighton's favourite models, possiblyEdith, the second eldest, who married Schmalz in 1889. But whereasLeighton sublimates the theme of victimhood, making it the pretextfor an idealised vision of the ancient world, Schmalz emphasisesits most horrific and sadistic aspects. In all three of his owntreatments Normand steers a middle course between these twoextremes.
The other artist who offers meaningful comparisons is Solomon J.Solomon, a man four years younger than Normand who arrived inHolland Park Road in 1887. During his ten-year residence Solomonmore than played his part in the production of large subjectpictures with women taking central roles, although he kept hisoptions open. Ajax and Cassandra (1886; Ballarat, Australia) hasbeen aptly described as 'one of the most violent rape scenes of thecentury'. On the other hand Sampson (1887; Liverpool) turns thetables completely, casting Delilah as a femme fatale of the mostvindictive kind. Solomon's relationship with Normand isparticularly interesting since he had preceded him to Paris in1879, working not at Julian's but under Cabanel at the Ecole desBeaux-Arts. Moreover, half-way through his tutelage (he left Parisin 1883) he had visited Morocco with his friend Arthur Hacker.Hearing Solomon reminisce about these experiences may well haveencouraged Normand to follow a similar path a decade later, even ifConstant rekindled his desire to visit Morocco.
Although Bondage was painted shortly after Normand had left theclaustrophobic milieu of Holland Park Road, it may be seen as alate example of the 'woman as victim' pictures that emanated fromLeighton's circle at this period. What is interesting is that,being so late, it reflects not only the ethos of Holland Park butthe experience of working with Benjamin Constant, thus giving fusedexpression to these two powerful influences.
When Bondage appeared at the RA, F.G. Stephens, the veteran artcritic on the Athenaeum, described it as representing 'theinspection of native slaves by a pseudo-Oriental potentate'.Normand, he wrote, 'was desirous of succeeding to the popularity ofthe late Mr Long' (Long had died in 1891), but whereas the olderartist had 'carefully let us know (whether) he meant Egypt ofAssyria', Normand 'leaves us in the dark as to the identity of hismonarch'.
This is not strictly true. As Alison Smith has observed, the sceneis clearly set in ancient Egypt. True, the picture is 'essentiallya historical fantasy', but its image of Egypt as 'sensual, materialand slave-owning' owes much to Old Testament stories of Joseph andthe Exodus. The canvas is in a magnificent purpose-built frame, andSmith quotes an unpublished manuscript by N.H. Nail which arguesthat 'references to Rameses II in the cartouches' and the 'wingedsun disk with cobras' are 'relevant to the subject since Rameseswas widely regarded in the nineteenth century as the Pharaoh ofoppression and the Exodus'. Symbols of Egyptian royal power, sheadds, are also found in the picture itself, 'with the statues ofthe lion-headed goddess copied from sculpture in the British Museumand the montage of temple, pylon and obelisk in thedistance'.
In fact Normand had covered this ground before in his painting TheDeath of the Firstborn, shown at the RA in 1889, in which adistraught Pharaoh is seen leaving his son's deathbed while hiswomenfolk comfort the dying infant, a priest seeks divineintervention, and slaves look on. Although the picture seems to belost, an old photograph exists and it is clear that in somerespects it anticipated Bondage, introducing similar buildings inthe background and making bold compositional use of an awningstretched across the upper part of the picture to shield thefigures from the baking sun.
The statues in Bondage copied from ones in the British Museum tellus much about the artist's sources. His early studies in the Museumwould have familiarised him with its treasures, but Smith suggeststhat he may have looked further afield. He might, for example, haveknown of the work of Gaston Maspero, the French director-general ofexcavations in Egypt in the 1880s, or Flinders Petrie's seminalHistory of Egypt(1894), not to mention 'the numerous travel guidesissued at a time when Egypt was a British protectorate'. There wasof course nothing new in a painter making use of archaeologicalevidence in this way. Edward Poynter had done so to dramatic effectwhen painting his panoramic Israel in Egypt (1867; Guildhall ArtGallery, London), and Alma-Tadema had drawn the ruins of Pompeiiwhen visiting Italy in 1863-4, as well as relying heavily onphotographs for his elaborate reconstructions of the ancient world,whether set in Roman times or biblical Egypt. Normand was followinga path well trodden by artists whose work would have been familiarto him from exhibitions and who had probably taught him in the RAschools.
The present picture was bought for the considerable sum of 1,200gns by Christopher Henry Hawkins, a wealthy diplomat and collectorwho had a London house, 10 Portland Place, and a magnificentcountry seat in Cornwall. Trewithen House, built to designs by theLondon architect Tomas Edwards, is one of the country's finesteighteenth-century buildings. The Hawkins family had owned it since1715 and it is still in their possession, having passed downthrough ten generations. No doubt it provided Christopher Hawkinswith the space to house Normand's colossal canvas, but the picturecan never have fitted easily into an eighteenth-century setting andin 1909 he widow gave it to the Royal Institution of Cornwall,where it has remained to this day. Overlooked during the longperiod of eclipse from which Victorian painting suffered in thetwentieth century, it returned to the spotlight in 2001 when itprovided a dramatic finale to the Tate Gallery's survey of the nudein Victorian art, provocatively entitled Exposed.
In addition to the present lot, The Royal Institution of Cornwallwill deaccession Herbert James Draper's masterpiece The Seamaiden,which will be offered in the upcoming sale of Victorian and BritishImpressionist pictures on the 16th of June 2010 as lot 168. Pleasesee pages 66-67 in the printed catalogue. The full catalogue entryis available on
Ernest Normand - Playthings

Ernest Normand - Playthings

Original 1886


Lot number: 43
LOT 43

BRITISH, 1857 - 1923

300,000—500,000 USD

33 by 66 in.

alternate measurements
83.8 by 167.6 cm

signed Ernest Normand and dated 1886 (lower right)

oil on canvas

Sir W. Veno Owen Edgar Gallery, London (in 1980) Acquired from the above by the present owner

London, Royal Academy, 1886, no. 137 London, Owen Edgar Gallery, A Victorian Collection, May 8-June 27, 1980, p. 80, no. 3

"Pictures of the Year," Pall Mall Gazette, 1886, p. 15 F. Rinder, "The Art of Ernest Normand," Art Journal, 1901, p. 140 Christopher Wood, Olympian Dreamers, Victorian Classical Painters, 1860-1914, London, 1983, p. 246, illustrated pp. 246-7

The Art Journal's 1901 profile of Ernest Normand's describes his unlikely path to artistic achievement. The London-born Normand traveled to Germany at a young age to study commercial law for two years in Gotha. Upon his return to England, Normand launched a business career, yet at the end of his work days he attended classes at the Saint Martin School of Art. As Normand's artistic pursuits accelerated, he became particularly interested in the Classical period, and his remaining free time was spent at the British Museum drawing from the Antique artifacts on display (Rinder, p. 140). By 1880 at the age of twenty-three, Normand had gained entrance to the Royal Academy school, and became a full-time painter. His success was secured when Playthings was named one of the pictures of the year at the Royal Academy exhibition of 1886. The artist acknowledged the influence of Frederic, Lord Leighton, George Frederic Watts, Val Prinsep and Edward Poytner in his Classical and Biblical subjects and those of medieval legend and Renaissance poetry. However many of Normand's most celebrated works, like Playthings, most closely recall Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema's popular compositions, which blend ancient motifs with genre subjects. Playthings' young mother at leisure, delighting in her child's grasping at the fleeting goldfish in a pool, evokes Alma-Tadema's belief that "there is not such a great difference between the ancients and the modern as we are apt to suppose... [they] were human flesh and blood like ourselves, moved by much the same passions and emotions" (as quoted in Julian Treuherz, "Introduction to Alma-Tadema," in Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, exh. cat., Amsterdam, 1996, p. 11). Like Alma-Tadema, Normand did not look toward the ancient world in search of philosophical enlightenment, but instead for a setting for his themes of drama, romance, and beauty. In Playthings, architectural elements of highly polished marble and geometric wall paintings of ancient Greece or Rome are combined with decidedly Middle Eastern decorative objects like bronze hookahs and perfume burners to create a mix and match of exotic interest. Rather than focusing on historical accuracy, filling the picture space with extraneous clutter or costume, Playthings demonstrates Normand's concern with creating an arresting and compelling visual appeal based on the beauty of the human form, here the woman unabashedly displayed in a revealing costume bedecked in gold bangles and bracelets. Such technique was applauded by the Art Journal's writer who noted Normand's work was "a marked advance on its predecessors; detail does not obtrude, there is greater simplicity" (Rinder, p. 140).
Ernest Normand - Bondage

Ernest Normand - Bondage

Original 1895
Starting price:

Price: Not disclosed
Lot number: 53
Description: Artist: Ernest Normand, British (1859 - 1923) Title: Bondage Year: 1895 Medium: Hand Colored Etching, signed in the plate Size: 14.5 in. x 24.5 in. (36.83 cm x 62.23 cm)
Ernest Normand - Bondage

Ernest Normand - Bondage

Original 1895

Price: Not disclosed
Lot number: 172
Ernest Normand (HenriettaRae), French (1859 - 1923)
Hand-Colored Lithograph, signature in the plate
14.5 x 24.5 inches (image)
Printed by Fine Arts Publishing Co, Charing Cross House, London,1907
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