Hubert Von Herkomer, Entranced (The Lady In Black)

Hubert Von Herkomer, Entranced (The Lady In Black)

This late 19th-century etching by German-British artist Hubert Von Herkomer (1849-1914) depicts an elegant society lady in a black evening dress. She’s seated with an open posture, emotionally connected, and there’s a willingness to engage. A sense of romance and allure - her expression is intriguing.

Her outfit pairs a black dress, in perhaps satin, with long suede evening gloves. It’s the height of Parisian style, feminine, sensual, yet retaining her modesty. In 1884, two years before Von Herkomer’s original painting, John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) exhibited his portrait of Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau) at the Salon. Sargent’s striking, broadly controversial, masterpiece undoubtedly stirred public opinion and was perhaps an influence here.

Von Herkomer originally titled this work ‘Entranced in Some Diviner Mood of Self-Oblivious Solitude’, a line from a Shelley poem, but this later changed to ‘Entranced (The Lady in Black)’. The original is currently in the collection at the Leeds Art Gallery and the V&A holds another copy of this etching.

Signed in pencil, lower right, and framed.

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Medium: Etching on vellum
Overall size: 28½” x 36½” / 72cm x 93cm
Year of creation: c. 1888
Condition: Overall very presentable. Frame with some age-related wear.
Artist’s auction highlight: £65,000 achieved for an oil painting in 2021.

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