Oil on canvas: 65,5 x 80,5 cm;
signed and dated ‘D. Etcheverry/Paris 1900’
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This intriguing oil on canvas by French artist Hubert-Denis Etcheverry explores the burgeoning world of psychoanalysis at the turn of the century. A physician, presumed to be Sigmund Freud, is seen examining a young woman seemingly in a state of mental exhaustion. Freud had studied with fellow neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot in Paris beginning in 1885 studying the clinical presentations of hysteria and neurosis. It was these early studies that led Freud to the formulation of modern psychology.
Born in Bayonne, Etcheverry studied at the local art school under Jean-Baptiste Achille Zo, who specialised in the portrayal of women as particularly exotic and graceful. He later enrolled in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris where he entered the studio of Léon Bonnat and went on to win a Prix du Rome in 1891. His mastery of the female form made his compositions immensely desirable, often depicting women in repose dressed in elegant, flowing gowns. This particular work is one of the few to seemingly offer the viewer a poignant commentary on the fragility of the human condition.
Works by his hand are in the Musée Carnavalet in Paris, in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. and in many others.