Oil on panel signed lower right
Dimensions 74 x 55 cm (in old frame: H. 97 x W. 77 cm)
Gustave de Jonghe is one of the most emblematic Belgian academic painters of the "Second Empire". He began his studies in Kortrijk, and his talent soon won him a place at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels. By the age of 18, he was exhibiting at the Brussels Salon. His painting is based on impeccable draftsmanship and in-depth study of materials, postures and skin tone.
Following the example of Alfred Stevens, he moved to Paris in 1850, where he exhibited several times at the Salon de Paris. He became one of the most prominent female portraitists of Parisian high society. He painted women in luxurious settings, paying particular attention to fashionable clothing. In 1864, de Jonghe was honored by Belgium's King Leopold I. Today, his works can be found in the collections of major institutions such as the Musée Royal des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, the Musée Royal des Beaux-Arts in Antwerp, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.
This meticulous artist devoted a great deal of time to each of his creations; having died relatively young, Gustave de Jonghe left a body of work of a high standard, but in modest quantity. The number of works on the market has been further reduced by the entry of many paintings into museums.
Our painting: This is the artist's favorite subject. On a large mahogany panel, de Jonghe depicted two beautiful young girls, luxuriously dressed. Their graceful posture suggests the tenderness and complicity that bind the two sisters. One holds a bouquet in her hand, while a second rests on a chair. The flowers invite us to imagine the existence of a third, unrepresented character, some suitor doubtless in love with one or the other. The careful décor transports us to a rich bourgeois interior with varnished parquet and sophisticated furnishings. The shimmering colors of the two girls' toilettes stand out vividly against the deep green of the velvet-covered walls. The artist introduces a light effect from the left, highlighting the sisters' perfect complexions, the elegant drapery of their toilette and the gilding of the console and mirror on the right of the composition.
The state of conservation of this work on panel is absolutely perfect. The fluted frame is in gilded wood.
42 000 €