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The Metamorphosis
By Jean Hugo
Gouache on canvas
Signed ‘Jean Hugo’ (lower right)
Size: 32.2 x 54 centimetres (12.63 x 21.25 inches)
Estimated price: €40,000-60,000

2012 marks the 210th anniversary of the birth of the world-renowned French novelist and poet Victor Hugo (1802-1885). Born into a very creative family, the writer’s great grandson Jean Hugo (1894-1984) and his wife Valentine Gross (1887-1968), were influential figures on the Parisian art scene and friends with many leading figures of the time, including Jean Cocteau _(1889-1963). They were known for creating celebrated costumes and sets for Cocteau’s plays, including The Wedding on the Eiffel Tower (1921), and the set design for the French silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928).

Jean Hugo later turned to a calmer life, away from Parisian society, at the Mas de Fourques near Lunel. He devoted himself to painting and explored the theme of human beings and nature in works such as this striking canvas The Metamorphosis (1929). By 1931, Hugo’s travels led him to discover Brittany where he was captivated by the light, noting a considerable difference to that of the southern region. This
new focus showed his exceptional talent as a colourist and his continued interest in nature.

Christie’s Victor Hugo Collection Sale will take place in Paris on April 4, 2012. For further information please visit http://www.christies.com.

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on March 25, 2012.