Luis Falero’s Witch, 1880
Luis Ricardo Falero (1851–96) was born in Spain, studied in Paris, but lived most of his short life in London. As this site explains he concentrated on painting highly-finished nudes, with a mythological or fairy-tale setting. One of his passions was reading about the supernatural. He seems to have had a particular fondness for the witches who feature in the Faust story, painting bacchanalian Sabbat-scenes on a number of occasions.
Of the seven paintings by Falero that I would like to eventually include on this site, at least three, and possibly all seven, concern Faust. Specifically, they concern Faust’s experience of the Witches’ Sabbat and have titles such as “The Vision of Faust” (or “Vision de Faust”), “Faust’s Vision” (“La Rêve”), “Faust and Mephistopheles (“Faust und Mephisto”) and “Departure of the Witches” (“‘Sorcieres qui vont au Sabbat”). Only one of the seven actually contain Faust, but they all contain witches.
In fact, as far as I can tell, most of these paintings do not have proper titles at all; certainly the paintings are not found in contemporary frames with title-panels; nor, apparently, were they exhibited with fixed titles, nor are they consistently referred to today by fixed titles. The titles that are used in different sources come from a variety of European languages and so it is never really clear whether “The Vision of Faust” and “Vision de Faust,” for example, is the same painting or two paintings and, if the same painting, which title is the real title (the English title or the French one).
Adding to the confusion is the fact that Falero clearly painted a lot more than seven paintings on the subject of witches or Faust (one has a pencil inscription on the back that reads “Etude de Sorciere N.22” [Study of a witch, no. 22]); also many, if not most, of these paintings are still in private hands. And I guess if you want to call your study of a witch “The Vision de Faust” after spending US$150,000 on it, who is going to stop you?
Finally, Falero was a genre painter and it seems no decent collection of his works has been made, no complete study of his paintings has been published (a catalogue raisonne), and so there are no reference book to consult to discover the real/first/accepted/latest title.
Although I have used a Falero painting on this blog before (the 1907 postcard here), I wanted to start the Falero series with this small but magnificent painting, because it is one of the few witchy paintings that deal with a single subject.
When this painting was sold in 2003 by Sothebys, on behalf of John Morrin, New York, it was titled “The Witches Sabbath” (“La Socière Allant au Sabbat”); this is the same title that was used when it sold by Sothebys in 1998 for US$21,850. This painting is dated 1880 and seems to be the same painting that was exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1880 (No. 1380) under the title “Vision de Faust. More commonly it is titled “Muse of the Night” (“Musa de la Noche”). But if you want to call it “Hot Redhead on a Broom” I won’t stop you.
I do not know how much John Morrin got for his 74 x 41cm painting in 2003. The estimate was US$18–25,000: the price of a car. Since Morrin only held the painting for five years the chances are reasonable that it will come up for sale again soon. If it did, I’d sell my car and walk to work every day for the rest of my life just so that I could come home to this. Which of us wouldn’t?
BTW: If you’d like to look at some more Falero while you are waiting for my next post Artcyclopedia offers links to a few Falero galleries online, suggesting these two as the best: The Athenaeum and Art Renewal Center. I’d add ArtMagick.
When Google decided to freeze me off the internet I realised I had a number of options. I have tried, discarded, re-tried and basically wavered between the various options so that now I find myself  all-but ready to move to my own domain: I have paid GoDaddy to host the site, have done most of the layout for a blog and am ready to copy all my posts over there, but GoDaddy have a technical problem that makes it impossible for me to use the domain that I own and want to use. I am not doing any more work on the blog until I can do it on my chosen domain. I have also  set up a WordPress blog, having done the layout and copied all my posts over last night. I have also  set up two more Blogger blogs and set them up so that I can split this one blog into a SFW and NSFW version. I also  set up a web site, but it looks like crap and I’m taking it down this afternoon.
At this stage, since my preferred option is , I am still unable to announce where I am moving. If GoDaddy keep mucking me about, or if, after getting my domain, I am unhappy with the appearance of it, or have trouble transferring the posts across, I will opt for  next week (the final option is , but I set that up before  and I am quite happy with the look of wordpress so Blogger can go … “away” would be the nice way to say it, but you know what I mean!).
Finally, I spent two days catching up on my scanning and OMG have I got some great stuff for this blog, wherever it happens to be. I can’t wait to concentrate on the material in my post, rather than on the location and the layout!