Dec 16, 2021 - Sale 2592

Sale 2592 - Lot 138

Price Realized: $ 10,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 7,000 - $ 10,000
MANUEL ORAZI (1860-1934)
Art Nouveau Woman with Sunflower Headdress. * Art Nouveau Woman Holding Kettle. Together, original painting and original study for unidentified projects, likely unpublished. Mixed media, including watercolor, gouache, metallic paint, and pencil on paper. The first is 630x500 mm; 24 3/4x19 1/2 inches (sheet). Firmly adhered to linen board. Signed with Orazi's decorative sigil in lower left image; not dated, though his use of this signature places it between 1900 and 1905. The second is 625x370 mm; 24 1/2x18 1/2 inches (sheet). Adhered to thick paper mount. Unsigned; not dated. Each matted and with simple gold-painted wood frames, study is missing glass.

Provenance: Gallery Sixtyeight Auctions; Private collection, Toronto.

The figure in the first and more finished artwork resembles Princesse Lointaine, who was famously played by Sarah Bernhardt and whose elaborate tiara adorned with lilies was immortalized and widely reproduced in imagery by poster artist Alphonse Mucha. While the sunflowers pictured here negate the likelihood of the artwork being intended as an image of the Princesse Lointaine, it certainly contains tropes and decorative elements quintessential to Orazi's oeuvre and the Art Nouveau style as a whole, such as use of sinuous curves and the intricate headdress, which he gives careful attention, likely due to his background as a jewelry designer. Orazi's jewelry was displayed at Samuel Bing's famed Maison de l'Art Nouveau in 1896, and his designs were also sold at La Maison Moderne.

Though it differs in the details and overall composition, the original study bears resemblance to Orazi's famous lithograph Femme aux Orchidées (Nymph with Orchids) in its rendering of a silhouette of a woman in profile with long tendrils of hair blowing in the wind.

Born in Italy, Orazi primarily worked in Paris creating graphic art in the Art Nouveau style and illustrations for advertisements, posters, calendars, books, and newspapers.

Such original studies by Orazi are uncommon on the market and highly desirable.