ALEXANDRE CHARPENTIER (Paris 1856 - 1909 Neuilly)

La Sonate, also called La Leçon de musique, or Le Concert

Glazed stoneware
16 ⅜ × 11 ⅜ × 2 ¾ inches (41.5 × 29 × 7 cm)
Signed and dated, at lower left:  Alexandre Charpentier / Juin 1891
Inscribed, at upper left:  LOUISE / CHARPENTIER

Private collection, New York, NY

Emmanuelle Héran, “La Sonate, dit aussi La Leçon de musique, ou Le Concert,” in Alexandre Charpentier (1856-1909): Naturalisme et Art Nouveau (exh. cat., Musée d’Orsay, Paris, 22 January – 13 April 2008; Brussels, musée communal d’Ixelles, 29 May – 31 August 2008), ed. by Emmanuelle Héran and Marie-Madeleine Massé, Paris, pp. 140-142 no. 122

Charpentier often portrayed women in his plaques and reliefs, and he was particularly drawn to music, as it allowed him to focus on both the physical and intellectual aspects of the activity. This relief depicts Louise, one of Charpentier’s daughters, playing the violin while accompanied on the piano by an older woman, perhaps Mme Charpentier.  He has cropped the edges of this relief in a rather bold manner, thus echoing the hard edges of both the piano and the music stand—a cubist detail before its time.