The Sorceress was the artist’s submission to the Paris Salon exhibition of 1883. The commanding female figure in the act of performing a spell is likely a subject from literature, although the source has yet to be identified. The mysterious symbolism, including voodoo doll, pentacle, Egyptian imagery, and more, can be clarified when the origin of the story is known. Until then, the secrets of The Sorceress remain fascinating and perplexing.
- Titles Une sorcière au xve siècle (A Fifteenth-century Sorceress) (Alternate)
- Artist Georges Merle, French, 1851 - 1886
- Medium oil on canvas
- Dimensions 57 1/2 x 45 in. (146.1 x 114.3 cm) frame: 70 5/8 × 58 3/16 × 5 3/4 in. (179.4 × 147.7 × 14.6 cm)
- Credit Line Collection of the Art Fund, Inc. at the Birmingham Museum of Art; Purchase with funds provided by the Children of the Vann Family: William O. Vann, Sally V. Worthen, Robert D. Vann, in memory of Suzanne Oliver Vann, AFI.2.2009
- Work Type painting
- Classification Paintings
- On View
- Inscription Verso, stretcher, upper left, white sticker: Christie's / [?]GRAPHED / ¾ [written on top] / 1823 5494 [bar code] / 7587 [sideways] Verso, stretcher, upper left, white sticker: 1823 5494 [bar code, sideways] Verso, stretcher, upper left, white sticker: 1823 5494 [bar code] Verso, stretcher, upper center, stamped in black: 80[?] Verso, stretcher, upper center, white chalk over black stamp: XE645 VI[L?] Verso, stretcher, upper right, black pen on white tape: ECPI. PO33148.RS2.13. Verso, stretcher, upper right, white sticker: Lot 206 / 19th Century European Art and / Orientalist and Spanish Art (7587) / Wednesday 02 July 2008 / Georges Hugues Merle (French, Late 19th Century) / L'Envoûteuse: The Sorceress / £ 20,000-30,000 / Christie's Verso, center strainer, stenciled in black: XE645 Along right side of stretcher, in white chalk: B 17 [sideways]
- Provenance Auctioned at Old Master and 19th Century Paintings and Drawings, Sotheby’s, Paris, June 23, 2003, lot 99. Anonymous collector [see note 1]; purchased after the sale through Christie's as agent by dealer Herner & Co., London, 2008 [see note 2]; purchased by dealer Jack Kilgore & Co., Inc., New York; purchased by the Art Fund, Inc. at the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama, 2009
1. The anonymous collector possibly purchased AFI.2.2009 at the 2003 auction. Offered but unsold at 19th Century European Art Including Orientalist and Spanish Art, Christie's, London, July 2, 2008, lot 206.
2. According to correspondence with Herner & Co. See object file.