02 Oct Two Brothers, Two Paintings
Delacroix’s Lion Devouring a Goat was owned first by Gustave Arosa and then his brother, Achille, successful business men and financiers in the latter half of the 19th century who each built up notable art collections. Gustave was the guardian of Paul Gauguin and perhaps the lover of his mother; he helped Gauguin financially, while introducing him to a wide social circle.
Achille was the Godfather and guardian of the great French composer Achille-Claude Debussy and lover of his aunt, Clementine. Both young men would have been familiar with the Arosa mansion in Saint Cloud, painted by Gauguin, as well as this painting and others from the collections of the two brothers. Debussy, composer of the music Après midi d’une faune, would become as famous in the world of music as Gauguin was as a painter, and it was while staying in the Arosa villa at Cannes with Achille and Clementine that the seven year old boy received his first piano lessons.
The romantic painter Delacroix and symbolist Lévy-Dhurmer come from very different backgrounds and have little in common stylistically but are linked by the Arosa brothers and these two paintings.