Topic: Provenance, presumption and imposition

Have you ever looked at something and felt inner rebellion against what you're told about it?
Sometimes intuitive objection is so compelling we seek an explanation- something we're told or have learned is wrong. I found this on the cover of acclaimed biography of Charlotte Bronte (since amended), the contented subject of photo not Charlotte but her best friend' Ellen Nussey'- one example of how reliable provenance can be miss-interpreted or miss-appropriated- or how new information can contradict old.

There must be very compelling provenance attributed to Eva Gonzales' recently uncovered 'Self-portrait', unequivocally listed on these pages.
The first contradicting detail obvious is that it's not a self-portrait, nor subject's view.
It not possible to paint one's self without looking  (Herni Rousseau's comical 'peripheral vision' exercise 'Looking at the Lamp' 1903 [also wrongly listed: 'With Lamp']).
The sketch can't be a self-portrait because neither wonky eye is looking at her self.
It is also tiny- 8" X 10" not 'larger than life' 18" X 24" suggested in Athenaeum description. Seated self-studies, mirror at arm's length, usually scale subject c. 3/4 life-size.  Why place the reference (mirror) so far away?
Secondly, the likeness cannot be consolidated with any known image of Eva Gonzales.

Eva is distinguished with a facial 'mole', or 'fairy kiss' 1cm below right lip extreme not apparent in sketch- the mark is consistently and faithfully depicted in sister Jeanne's exquisite drawing, all Manet's portraits and in a crisp, hi-res photo. Also, defying vanity, her real self-portrait '46. Mille Vue_' ('Thousandth Look') Feb 1879  faithfully depicts the tiny, indelible distinction, but uniquely, on the opposite, mirror-reflected side. 
There is no 'fairy kiss' evident below 'pursed' lips or chiseled chin of oil-sketch. The elfin-faced pixie with auburn curls is not the fleshy looker that stole Manet's infatuation.

The caption is by Eva, but not the Fleeting Star her self.
It is an impossibly rare and significant moment of exchange between Eva and her rival Berthe Morisot.
I wrongly imagined the wandering left eye was Eva's mischief.

It was not Eva's mischief. Actually her diligence and fidelity that depicted Berthe's wonky left eye.
Berthe was distinguished with genetic condition in which one or selectively either/both eyes point outwards, sometimes described 'reversed esotropic vision', rare especially among artists and evidently long intriguing Manet..
Although Manet manipulated features, he always included distinguishing features, and his early favourite muse no exception- all his portraits of Berthe show her awkward eye, and again defying vanity, for pure fidelity and posterity, even Berthe's own self-portrait points her left (right reflected) eye outwards. There is no doubt the recently Certified and re-sold oil-sketch is not Eva Gonzales' self-portrait, but her impeccable caption of Berthe Morisot.
The Certifying expert did not offer a date or theme, or occasion motivating or inspiring the Artist to suddenly visit and dash out her image on a drawer-bottom. The subject's assumed i/d was established by reference to; one unspecified Manet portrait and one other portrait by unknown maker in private hands. Expert made no reference to photos or fine drawing by the Artist's sister relied on by expert to establish Eva's appearance in C.Raisonne.

This at first bemusing portrait had good reason for Eva's making. Like Eva's real self-portrait, her sketch of Berthe is associated with marriage.
Here is the pensive bride, in transparent, symbolic whiteness, in twilight of maidenhood, here this moment surrendering a personal dimension in her relationship with Manet to her facing rival with the flying brush. (Once married, Berthe would never pose for Manet again.)
Seen in perspective, must rate among Eva's greatest works.

What puzzles me is why is this memento masterpiece believed to be the Artist's 'self-portrait'? While so, the real, irrefutable 'Cinderella' waits, and weeps, barred from public view.  Does anyone disagree with observation the 'self-portrait' oil-sketch is Eva's Berthe Morisot?

Best wishes, James Gorin von Grozny.

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2 (edited by Josselin 2014-06-10 15:31:34)

Re: Provenance, presumption and imposition

Hello James,
I checked and Rousseau's self portrait is correctly spelled according to the National Gallery: http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/artis … i-rousseau

We just reproduce the titles and attributions we find on museum websites, auction booklets and catalogues raisonnés. As we aren't experts, we normally don't change the attributions mentioned in these sources. You may be right about this painting, but we haven't the required authority to follow your suggestion.
I nevertheless corrected the dimensions.
Here is the record of the sale: http://www.galerieheim.ch/oeuvre-detail … &lng=2

Josselin

Re: Provenance, presumption and imposition

Thank you Josselin.

I will try retrieve the authoritative source reporting title 'Looking at the Lamp' and fwd.
With exception of the 'white hot' Eva Gonzales oil-sketch, 'Looking at Lamp' is possibly the only self-portrait achieved without 'looking' in public domain.
I wonder if that might make good topic; whether a self-portrait can have both eyes wonky- or if anyone can find another 'self-portrait' that looks like Eva's sketch?
Other reasons to question official 'self' attribution include not just suspicion, but proof (esotropic eye) that the subject is Eva's rival Berthe Morisot.  This could be excellent news for the new owner, since the pensive subject is Art's most desirable female.
Not looked at sale record yet, thanks I will. Although expert Certified, Jean Francois Heim cautiously advised; 'most likely self portrait' and referred to inconclusive sources of reference establishing subject identity (2 unspecified/undisclosed portraits, one by unknown maker in private hands- poss not seen even by the brave purchaser). Compromised by 'most likely' caveat, no date, theme or interpretation, the new painting perhaps did not realize the potential Eva's self-asserting, irrefutable (as it would be) and unanimously agreed, inevitably beautiful self-portrait would (more than massive £1.67m for pastel abstract of sister (Jan 2013). Perhaps, you might let me propose an alternative interpretation of Eva's dazzling pre-nuptial, twilight glimpse of the pensive, surrendering maiden Morisot?

v.best, James GvG

Re: Provenance, presumption and imposition

James,
I added a link to your text next to the image.
http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/detail.php?id=45817

Re: Provenance, presumption and imposition

Dear Josselin,
Have contacted Musee de Picasso Paris who hold Henri R's 'Artist with Lamp'. They list it slightly differently; 'Self-portrait of Artist with Lamp'. I've asked if they are aware of an alternative description the Artist may have used or any reference to 'Looking'.

Thank so much for attaching the link. 
I have tea-spilling images relating to the topic, inc. romantic late provenance- photo Saltzburg 1947 in which Lydia, soon widowed countess Desmonchilla celebrates acquisition of the beautiful, self-portrait 'Mille Vue_'  and it's association with marriage.  In 1948, widowed/displaced/dispossessed Lydia brought the unframed painting (refugee's hand-baggage) to England and to rural Devon in 1950 where it remained until uncovered (unwittingly by me- Lydia was my remarkable mum) in 2009.
Also sequence tracing tiny indelible 'fairy-kiss' 1cm below lips in all paintings, drawings and unadulterated photos of Eva Gonzales.
How can I upload/post images without opening new topic?

v.best James

6 (edited by Josselin 2014-06-12 17:32:34)

Re: Provenance, presumption and imposition

kobrinbooks wrote:

How can I upload/post images without opening new topic?

You have to to click on the "post reply" link on the bottom right, then you have a button for attachment.

Re: Provenance, presumption and imposition

The 'fairy-kiss' that Manet never missed:

When Eva Met Manet in Feb 1869 she was already an accomplished if 'contrary' student of society portraitist Charles Chaplin. According to Berthe Morisot, Manet's 'main muse' until Eva, Manet rubbed out Eva's face and re-modeled it more than 40 times before satisfied, he gave the painting to her (Eva),  It was unveiled to critical horror- 'a plaster cast'- 'a parrot's beak' - the Master did manipulate features to his whim, yet always detailed distinctions- Berthe's 'esotropic eye'- which no-one noticed, nor the 'fairy kiss' that Manet never missed.

The att. sequence 1) Believed Eva's elusive self-reflection, 2) sister Jeanne's Drawing, 3) the 'parrot's beak' (Nat Gllry London) 4) Manet's last (1878) study 5) crisp, hi-res photo. All images spot the 'kiss' (then unsightly 'mole') 1cm below right lip extreme, except her reversed mirror reflection. Less obvious asymmetric (reverse matching) nuances include a 'D' shaped frontal, pronounced  eye, rt inclined nose and 'tugged' lips leftwards. The tiny, precise distinction in 1) '46. Mille Vue_' is accomplished with a minute 2mm cross-hatching of bunt umber over a raised whorl of sub-dermis. Defies vanity for sake of identity.
And posterity.

Best wishes, James
Have more to

Re: Provenance, presumption and imposition

re-attach Eva's 'fairy kiss'

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Re: Provenance, presumption and imposition

'Cinderella's' dilemma:
When Eva finally immortalized her image for Manet, she threw vanity to the wind (misshapen cheek/dominant eye, offset lips, 'mole' blemish 1cm below right end of). His only Student didn't model herself beautiful, yet 'beautiful' is first adjective that comes to mind when seeing the painting (I think it fair to say.)
With the same dedication to accountability and precision, Eva's tiny, scintillating sketch (appearing to be of Berthe) details her rival's peculiar eyes. For some years I mistook them for Eva's mischief, until referring to Manet's many captions and Berthe's own self portrait. It was also just weeks ago, researching how the feminine treasure could have ended up in a muddy, isolated town in North Devon from the lights of Paris.  Only then I found the last three owners were women, and traced them back to my mother. 

Among Eva's dilemma, she made herself, and bridal rival, so irrifutably themselves, they cannot be mixed up or sit side by side as a pair, according to the diagonals attached, if my choice of comparison is fair.

v.best, James

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Re: Provenance, presumption and imposition

Given your obvious in depth research into this subject, what do the experts think?

Re: Provenance, presumption and imposition

Good evening Magyk.

The expert thinks the girl with wayward eyes and big ears is her graceful subject of specialty- Eva Gonzales.
Perhaps since Eva made so few, less than 100 drawings and paintings, while some of her contemporaries produced thousands, may be why there is only one official expert- there is not enough material to share?
No one had assumed the mantle until Mm Sainsauliau (with Jaque de Mons) resolved that Eva's small oeuvre deserved compilation, analysis and description. The 1991 is the only, very valuable reference for Students and researchers. Some inclusions are misplaced and openly disputed. This includes another 'self-portrait' attribution, in which Mm S explains why it looks like the Artist's sister (Jeanne) but isn't.
Mm S says those who had thought it was, including the Artist's son,were wrong. Yet the award=winning paper 2011 stated, of works known, Eva Gonzales never made a drawing or painting of her self'. Scholar since written of '46. Mille Vue_' 'I am convinced the subject of your painting is Eva Gonzales.'

The sales record linked above by Josselin (Jean Francois Heim Gallery, Paris) suggests there is no mechanical or documentary evidence for the attribution, only hearsay.

Apologies only part answered your question so far- need sleep.

Best wishes, James

Re: Provenance, presumption and imposition

In fact only one official Eva Gonzales expert has authority to bless or confine to oblivion.

I have been writing/updating Mm Sainsauliau since May 2010, and, having just updated the expert about discussion here, am waiting a few hours for her contribution and latest answer.

v.best, James

Re: Provenance, presumption and imposition

Mm S has not added to her original message; 'send me an image' May 2010.

I've found a frontal photo of Berthe Morisot.

Berthe's 'esotropic' eye condition, in which only one eye is 'on' at any time, may explain the occasional lack of depth or perspective in her work?

As far as I know the new keeper still understands he or she owns and is looking at the Fleeting Star's elusive self-reflection. The almost 'duped' owner has huge consolation in that she (Berthe) is Art's most desirable, valuable female exponent.

So far no-one disagrees that Eva's delectable 'white' oil-sketch is big-eared rival Berthe Morisot.

Best wishes, James

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Re: Provenance, presumption and imposition

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Re: Provenance, presumption and imposition

There is this essay on the net: Rethinking Self by Janalee Emmer (www.huichawaii.org/assets/emmer
Fig. 9 and 10
Someone would like to comment ?

Re: Provenance, presumption and imposition

Hi Maria- when Maria my 5 y/o g/daughter first saw the 'Mille Vue_' she said; 'that's my nanny..' 'It's her friend darling.' I spontaneously replied, not knowing how close we both were.
Janalee Emmer is a thorough scholar, been tremendously encouraging and proposed contacting Mm Sainsaulieu (with whom she is acquainted) to no avail. Janalee, and award-winning academic Brigid Morgano (who logically anticipates but in 2010 doubted existence of a 'self-portrait') agree identity of the 30 y/o woman in 'Mille Vue_' observing protocol, both researchers reserve attribution/announcement of authorship to official expert. Am posting the 'Mille Vue_' on 'identity & valuation' forum hopefully later today. Thank you for useful comment.
Best wishes, James

Re: Provenance, presumption and imposition

Update: While preparing i/d thread '(minus typos) Manet's muse etc.', became apparent the pale undulating underline of Berthe's eyes each hold a suspended tear.
Intimate implications re Manet and marriage (or something else?), and supports notion it is Eva's 3rd party view.