Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Simeon Solomon - Head of a young woman

signed 'SIMEON SOLOMON' (lower left) 
watercolour and bodycolour, on paper 
13 3/8 x 9 7/8 in. (34 x 25 cm.) 

The present watercolour relates to other compositions of a red-headed figure, sometimes male, sometimes female (as in the present watercolour) and often sexually ambiguous. Comparable works have been sold in these Rooms such as Head of a youth (16 November 2006, lot 208) and Head of a woman with red hair, in profile to the left (21 November 2007, lot 130); both show similar profiles and compositional formats to the present work. A further version, Head of a Young Man, is in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and is dated 1888. A. Symons refers to such works in his book, 'These faces are without sex: they have brooded among the ghosts of passion till they have become the ghosts of themselves: the energy of virtue or of sex has gone out of them, and they hang in space, dry, rattling, the husks of desire.' (From Toulouse-Lautrec to Rodin, London, 1929, p. 156).


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