Study for the Mother in The Fisherman's Family

Study for the Mother in The Fisherman's Family

c. 1875

Pierre Puvis de Chavannes

(French, 1824-1898)

Black and white chalk with stumping, squared in black chalk

Support: Tan wove paper, possibly faded from blue, mounted to modern laid paper decorated with blue wash at margins

Sheet: 46.6 x 32.8 cm (18 3/8 x 12 15/16 in.)

Bequest of Muriel Butkin 2008.390


Did you know?

Pierre Puvis de Chavannes also worked out the composition of the female figure seen in this drawing through a more developed study now in the collection of the Musée Saint-Nazaire in Bourbon-Lancy, France.


This study relates to the figure of the mother in Pierre Puvis de Chavannes's The Fisherman's Family, a painting first shown at the 1875 Paris Salon, and which the artist also painted in reduced scale in 1887. While Puvis represented his female figure completely nude in the study, in the painting he left bare just a breast, shoulder, and arm. The artist derived the mother figure seen in this drawing from an earlier canvas, Summer, purchased by the French state at the 1873 Salon. In this study, the figure retains some naturalistic features smoothed away in the later paintings, as seen in her proper right arm and hand and her collar and cheekbones.

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