Study for Departure of the Witches, 1877
As I have explained before, many of Faléro’s paintings are not titled, and so they have a number of modern names. And since this is true of many paintings with similar subject-matter (witches), different paintings by Falero have ended up with the same name. Which is very confusing.
In today’s example, a painting that was titled “Witches Gathering” when it was sold for USD3,585—with another Falero painting—by Bonhams in New York on 26 January 2007 (New York Sale 14650, European Paintings: Including Old Masters and 19th Century Drawings, Lot no. 124) turns out to have an inscription from the artist’s son on the reverse which reads “Sorcieres qui vont au Sabbat No. 11 / par Louis Falero / de la collection d’ebauches et / oeuvres inedites/ Signe par son fils/R.Falero” [Witches going to the Sabbat No. 11 / by Louis Falero / from the collection of sketches and / unpublished works / Signed by his son / R. Falero]. So, this painting seems to have two titles.
As it turns out, “Witches Gathering” aka “Sorcieres qui vont au Sabbat” aka “Witches going to the Sabbat” is actually a study for “Departure of the Witches” (1878) aka “Vision de Faust” or “Faust’s Vision.” This is clear as soon as we compare the two canvases, even though the study is 240 x 178 mm and the painting is 1455 x 1182 mm! I presume this was not mentioned by Bonhams because neither the vendor nor the auction house realised that it was the same painting.
You may be thinking that I should have mentioned in my previous post on Luis Ricardo Faléro’s “Departure of the Witches” that I also had images of Faléro’s original study for that composition. The problem is, that I didn’t know either. It was only recently that I realised that the two paintings were the same. Now that I have realised, I can present you with image-by-image comparisons of the two and I will update my previous post.
Since this study is just that, a study, it does not have the meticulous finish that Falero is famous for, but it has a wonderful energy and great splashes of colour. And it is also always interesting to see the steps a painter goes through to produce such a wonderful canvas. (For another example of this see my post on Albert Welti’s “Walpurgisnacht” (1896-97) here.)