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 Falero, Luis Ricardo (Spanish painter, 1851-1896) , The Butterfly

Core Record

Title The Butterfly
Alternative Title Ariel
Collection Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth
Artist Falero, Luis Ricardo (Spanish painter, 1851-1896)
Date 1893 (dated)
Signed yes
Description

Luis Ricardo Falero specialised in painting female nudes. A precocious child, he was sent to learn watercolour and English in London and then to study painting in Paris. Subsequently in 1866 he entered the Spanish Navy, in accordance with the wishes of his parents. However, by 1868 he had returned to Paris to paint, remaining there until 1887 when he moved to London. His London studio was located at 100 Fellows Road in Hampstead, a quarter populated by many successful artists. He exhibited at the Paris Salon from 1879 to 1885 and at the Royal Academy from 1889 to 1893.

Falero's The Butterfly was at one time entitled Ariel and may be related to a work of the same name exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1891. However, the painting provides little evidence to support this Shakespearean title. Painted in a hyper-realist style it shows a fair haired, pale fleshed female nude with translucent, black and red butterfly wings standing on the leaf of a daisy plant as she leans forward to look into the face of its orange flower. The plant and fairy figure are set off against a background of bright azure sky. Falero painted similarly eroticised fairy subjects such as The Lily Fairy (1888; Sotheby's, Belgravia, 24 October 1978, lot 228). His decision to depict fairies may have been influenced by the British taste for Arthur Rackham's fairy images. However, his singularly Ďadult' treatment of the subject is typically his own.

Current Accession Number BORGM 00777
Former Accession Number 39
Inscription front lr 'Falero / 1893'
Subject figure; literature (Shakespeare, A Midsummer Nightís Dream)
Measurements 73.7 x 40.7 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by Sir Merton Russell-Cotes, 1908.
Principal Exhibitions The Artful Butterfly, Commonwealth Institute, London, March - April 1978.
Publications Quick, R., Catalogue of the Pictures and Sculptures in the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, 1923, p. 16, no. 42; Quick, R., The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth, Illustrated Souvenir, 1924, ill. p. 52.
Notes Talented and precocious, the young Luis Ricardo Falero was sent to London to learn English and watercolour painting from 1858 to 1860, before moving to Paris to study painting. By 1866 he was enrolled in the Spanish Navy according to the wishes of his parents. However, he had left by 1868 to return to Paris, where, deprived of his family's financial support, he painted portraits to finance his continued study of painting as well as chemistry and mechanical engineering. Eventually he elected to only pursue painting but maintained a lively interest in alchemy and astronomy. This informs the subjects of many of his paintings that treat scenes from Faust: sorceresses, witches sabbats and signs of the zodiac. Falero specialised in painting the female nude and his choice of mythological and allegorical subjects allowed him the freedom to explore wild scenes of otherwise indecorous subjects. These he exhibited to great acclaim at the Paris Salon from 1879 to 1885, and, after his move to London in 1887, at the Royal Academy from 1889 to 1893.
Rights Owner Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth
Author Francesco Nevola
 

 

 

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