Offered by Galerie de Lardemelle
(Active in Paris around 1830-1850)
The Levite of Ephraïm
Signed and dated 1836 lower left
48 x 38 cm
Exhibition: Salon de Paris in 1836, under the number 1147
Related work: replica of Couder’s painting, exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1817 under the number 176, and today preserved in the museum of Arras
We know little about Flora Lautz, except that she belongs to the large group of women porcelain painters of the first half of the nineteenth century, headed by Marie-Victoire Jacquotot, and among which Marie-Adelaïde Ducluzeau, Marie-Pauline Laurent, Madame Renaudin, Miss Girard, Miss Perlet or Aurore Leclerc.
These porcelain productions are part of the "backupist" movement of the early 19th century, initiated and supported by the director of the Manufacture de Sèvres, Alexandre Brongniart. To cope with the inevitable wear of time on the masterpieces of ancient or contemporary painting of the time, he actually develop replicas on porcelain, so as to keep an unalterable trace of their beauty. However, the good artists who participate in this movement do not work only at Sèvres, and Flora Lautz is an example; similarly, if we find many women, several male artists specialize in the genre, Abraham Constantin being the most famous of them.
These replicas are very often exhibited at the Salon, and about Flora Lautz, she will participate three times: in 1836 with the present work (she is then domiciled 12, passage of the Industry), in 1848 with a View of the castle of Pierrefonds d after Boisselier (it is domiciled 33, rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis) and in 1849 with the departure after Auguste Delacroix (she is domiciled 8, rue de Hanover).
Mademoiselle Lautz is mentioned in "Le Journal des Artistes" of May 1, 1836, "... with the praise she deserves, for her beautiful copy of the Levite of Ephraim, according to Mr. Couder".
Our painting can only be considered as a simple copy; Beyond its beauty, its brilliant execution, its prestigious exhibition and its relatively exceptional dimensions, it corresponds to a real artistic policy of the time concerning replicas.
As for the original painting of Couder (1789-1873), it measured approximately 3.40 x 2.75 m. It represents the moment when a Levite (a member of the tribe of Levi), from the city of Ephraim, discovers at the end of the night the dying body of his wife who suffered the murderous outrages of several inhabitants of the city of Gabba .
The work, despite its macabre theme and its great violence, met with immense critical success, and was acquired by the state, who placed it a few years later at the Luxembourg Museum, where Miss Lautz made the reply.
The composition was also engraved by Jean-Louis-Toussaint Caron (1790-1832), a print that was exhibited at the Salon of 1831.