Artist: Paul Delvaux (Belgian, 1897–1994)
Medium: Oil on Masonite
Dimensions: 79 1/2 x 122 in. (201.9 x 309.9 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Julian J. Aberbach, 1979
Accession Number: 1979.356
Rights and Reproduction: © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Measuring over six by nine feet, The Great Sirens is one of Delvaux’s largest paintings. The work features partially nude female figures in a moonlit architectural landscape, a mysterious setting that reveals the painter’s admiration of the work of Giorgio de Chirico. Unabashedly unselfconscious in their states of undress, the women are formidable, even threatening, in their quiet seduction. In the distance, a group of beached mermaids mesmerizes a lone man in a bowler hat. Ambiguous in meaning, the painting evokes enduring themes of love and erotic fantasy.