Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Art Review - "La lettre de rupture" by Alfred Emile Stevens - Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France

Today for #MuseumTourTuesday, I'd like to share a more obscure painting at the Musée d'Orsay

This piece by Alfred Émile Stevens was located in a room focused on art deco furniture, so it was very dimly lit and difficult to see, let alone photograph. We almost walked right past it, but I'm glad that we didn't, as it has a beautiful mood and subtlety.

Click through the photos for my thoughts.

Painting photos by Saunders Fine Arts.

"La lettre de rupture” (The Break Up Letter) • Alfred Stevens • 1867 • Oil on Canvas • 73x54cm
The title of the painting clearly sets the scene of a woman who has just read a break up letter from her lover, and so many interesting details in the painting support her emotions.

Notice the glimpse of a potted floral to the right, suggesting a larger room while she stands alone in the shadows of a privacy screen. These are emotions that one can only face alone. The letter is heavy in one hand, while the other clutches her abdomen. This is the exact moment that she comes to grasp the meaning of the letter.

Notice the compositional draw towards the letter. The strong movement of the dark in the middle of the privacy screen directs the eye towards the letter. The cool light blue of the letter contrasts with the dark warmth of the privacy screen. Both hands are more in focus than the head, leading the eyes downward.

"La lettre de rupture” Detail • Alfred Stevens • 1867 • Oil on Canvas • 73x54cm
The features of her face also fade into shadow, further enhancing the emotion of wanting to hide from the world. The face is very softly painted without a single hard edge. The nose is almost nonexistent. The letter is the star of this painting. Her face only explains its significance.

© Patrick and Kimberly Saunders, Patrick Saunders Fine Arts, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s authors/owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Patrick Saunders for painted works, or to Kimberly Saunders for photographs and/or videos, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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