Regnault initially represented this Italian model as an African woman, but later enlarged his canvas at the bottom and right and transformed it into a representation of the biblical temptress Salomé. Hair ruffled, clothes in disarray, she has just danced for her stepfather Herod, governor of Judea. The platter and knife allude to her reward: the severed head of John the Baptist. Just months after this picture’s sensational debut at the Salon of 1870, the young Regnault was killed in the Franco-Prussian War. His posthumous fame was such that an outcry arose when the painting left France for America in 1912.
Inscription: Signed, dated, and inscribed (left center): HRegnault [initials in monogram] / Rome 1870
[probably Galerie Brame, Paris, 1870, bought from the artist for Fr 14,000; sold in March 1870 for Fr 16,000 to Durand-Ruel]; [Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1870–72; stock no. 522, sold to Cassin]; Adèle de Cassin (later the marquise de Landolfo Carcano), Paris (1872–1912; her sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, May 30–June 1, 1912, no. 67, for Fr 480,000 to Knoedler); [Knoedler, Paris, 1912; shipped in September to Knoedler, New York]; [Knoedler, New York, 1912–16; sold in July for $102,524 to Knoedler]; Roland F. Knoedler, New York (1916; sold to Baker); George F. Baker, New York (1916)
Paris. Salon. May 1–June 20, 1870, no. 2390 (lent by M. Durand-Ruel).
Paris. École des Beaux-Arts. "Oeuvres de Henri Regnault," March 1872, no. 55 (lent by Mme de Cassin).
Paris. Galerie Georges Petit. "Une Collection particulière," October 1–December 10, 1884, no. 41.
New York. Grand Central Palace. "The Allied Bazaar," June 3–14, 1916, unnumbered cat.
New York. Knoedler. "An Exhibition of Paintings and Prints of Every Description, on the Occasion of Knoedler, One Hundred Years, 1846–1946," April 1–27, 1946, no. 82.
Hartford, Conn. Wadsworth Atheneum. "The Romantic Circle: French Romantic Painting, Delacroix and his Contemporaries," October 15–November 30, 1952, no. 62.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries," November 15, 1970–February 15, 1971, no. 370.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Impressionism: A Centenary Exhibition," December 12, 1974–February 10, 1975, not in catalogue.
Philadelphia. Memorial Hall. "International Exhibition of Arts, Manufactures, and Products of the Soil and Mine [The Centennial Exhibition]," May 10–November 10, 1876, not in catalogue [see Sterling and Salinger 1966].
New York. Wildenstein. "Sarah Bernhardt and her Times," November 13–December 28, 1984, unnumbered cat.
Henri Regnault. Letter to M. Montfort. April 15, 1869 [published in Ref. Duparc 1904, p. 261], calls it "Hérodiade".
Henri Regnault. Letters to his father. June–October 1869 [published in Ref. Duparc 1904, pp. 275, 277–79, 321], writes in October 1869 that "je tiens, en rentrant à Rome, à terminer immédiatement ma petite femme au fond jaune (Hérodiade, l'esclave favorite, la poetassa de Cordoba) le nom ne fait rien à l'affaire".
Camille Lemonnier. Salon de Paris, 1870. Paris, 1870, pp. 75–78.
J. Goujon. Beaux-arts, Salon de 1870 propos en l'air. Paris, 1870, pp. 92–93.
B. de Mezin. Promenades en long et en large au Salon de 1870. Paris, 1870, p. 22.
Elie Sorin. Le Salon de 1870: Peinture et sculpture. Angers, 1870, pp. 10, 19 [reprinted in "Revue historique, littéraire et archéologique de l'Anjou," 4ème sér, vol. 7 (1872), pp. 34, 43].
René Ménard. "Salon de 1870 (1er article)." Gazette des beaux-arts, 2nd ser., 3 (June 1870), pp. 503–5.
Victor Fournel. "Le Salon de 1870." Gazette de France (May 20, 1870) [excerpt published in Ref. Gotlieb 2004, p. 73].
Zacharie Astruc. "Le Salon." L'Écho des beaux-arts 1 (May 20, 1870), pp. 2–3.
Henri Regnault. Letters to his father. March 3, May 8, 1870 [published in Ref. Duparc 1904, pp. 342–43, 357–58], remarks that Salomé "n'est pas un nom assez bizarre, je voudrais un nom que personne ne pût prononcer" and refers to the "férocité caressante" of the figure.
Henri Regnault. Letter to A. Duparc. March 8, 1870 [published in Ref. Duparc 1904, p. 345], reports that he is occupied with finishing this picture, referring to it as "Hérodiade".
[Jules] Castagnary. "Salon de 1870 (1er article)." Le Siècle (May 9, 1870), p. 2.
Marius Chaumelin. "Salon de 1870. II." La Presse (May 21, 1870), p. 2.
Victor Regnault. Letter to [Antoine?] Montfort. March 17, 1870 [Archives des Musées nationaux, Paris, P 30 Regnault, enveloppe B], discusses the dispatch from Africa of the painting [identified as such on the manuscript by another hand] and its imminent receipt by Durand-Ruel.
Théodore de Banville. La Danseuse. 1870, p. 203 [published as part of his "Rimes dorées" in "Oeuvres de Théodore de Banville," Paris, 1891], dedicates this poem about The Met's picture to Regnault.
Henri Baillière. Henri Regnault,1843–1871. Paris, 1871, p. 18, notes that the same model posed for Marcello's "Pythie" [see Ref. Pierre 2003].
Eugène Fromentin. Letter to Ferdinand Humbert. September 6, 1871 [published in Ref. Wright 1995, p. 1699, no. 1083], regarding Humbert's painting of "Judith," advises him to "défiez-vous du moderne: pensez à la 'Salomé' de Regnault, pour vous tenir à l'opposé".
Henri Baillière. Henri Regnault,1843–1871. Paris, 1872, pp. 30–31, 58–62, 73, 93, notes that this picture began as a study of the head of a peasant girl, which Regnault then enlarged to bust-length and called "Study of an African Woman"; states that the picture was purchased unseen by a Spanish dealer who paid the artist Fr 14,000 and then sold it to a famous dealer, and that it then passed from Brame to Mme Cassin, who bought it for Fr 35,000.
Paul Mantz. "Henri Regnault." Gazette des beaux-arts, 2nd ser., 5 (January 1872), pp. 78–80, ill. opp. p. 78 (etching by Rajon).
Henri Cazalis. Henri Regnault: Sa vie et son œuvre. Paris, 1872, pp. 73–75, 187–88, states that this picture was begun in Rome and completed in Tangier, and that its original title was "Etude de femme africaine," then "L'Esclave favorite"; comments that Regnault regretted not depicting the violence of the Salomé story; notes that it was bought by Durand-Ruel for Fr 14,000 and sold to Mme de Cassin for Fr 40,000.
Théophile Gautier. Oeuvres de Henri Regnault. Exh. cat., École des Beaux-Arts. [Paris], , pp. 17–25, 64, no. 55.
Victor Regnault. Letter to [Antoine?] Montfort. April 17, 1872 [Archives des Musées nationaux, Paris, P 30 Regnault, enveloppe B], discusses the negotiations behind the display of the picture at Exh. Paris 1872.
Jules Claretie. Peintres et sculpteurs contemporains. Paris, 1873, pp. 325, 338, 345, 351.
Lucy H. Hooper. "From Abroad: Our Paris Letter." Appletons' Journal 14 (July 31, 1875), p. 155, relates that in the spring of 1870 [Mariano] Fortuny suggested to Regnault that he "take that head which you sketched lately and put a body to it" and exhibit it at the Salon.
Charles Blanc. Les Artistes de mon temps. Paris, 1876, pp. 361–62, ill. p. 353 (engraving by Albert Duvivier).
Philip Gilbert Hamerton. Modern Frenchmen: Five Biographies. London, 1878, pp. 396–97.
A. Angellier. Étude sur Henri Regnault. Paris, 1879, pp. 61–63, 72–73.
Hermann Billung. "Henri Regnault." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst 15 (1880), pp. 98–100.
Alice Meynell. "Henri Regnault." Magazine of Art 4 (1881), pp. 71–73, ill. (engraving).
Jules Claretie. Peintres et sculpteurs contemporains. Paris, 1882, vol. 1, pp. 13, 18, 20–21.
G. W. Sheldon. Hours with Art and Artists. reprint, 1978. New York, 1882, pp. 77–79, ill. (engraving by Albert Duvivier).
Adolf Rosenberg. "Henri Regnault." Die Grenzboten 42 (1883), pp. 523–26.
Victor Fournel. Les Artistes français contemporains: Peintres—sculpteurs. Tours, 1884, pp. 476, 478–80, ill. opp. p. 475 (etching by Rajon).
André Michel. "A propos d'une collection particulière (Collection de Mme de Cassin; Galerie G. Petit)." Gazette des beaux-arts, 2nd ser., 30 (December 1884), p. 500.
Th[éodore]. Duret. Critique d'avant-garde. Paris, 1885, pp. 52–53.
Roger Marx. Henri Regnault, 1843–1871. Paris, , pp. 66–69, 99, ill. (etching by Rajon), notes that Regnault formerly called this picture "Hérodiade," "Femme africaine," "Esclave favorite," and "Poetassa de Cordoba".
Theodore Child. "Madame de Cassin's Pictures." Art Amateur 17 (September 1887), pp. 75–78, ill. (engraving by Duvivier), states that Brame purchased it from Regnault in Spain, while the picture itself was in Rome, for Fr 12,000; traces its provenance next to Durand-Ruel, who sold it to M. Edwards for Fr 36,000, and then to Mme Cassin for Fr 60,000.
Clarence Cook. Art and Artists of Our Time. New York, 1888, vol. 1, pp. 147–50, ill.
Camille Lemonnier. Les Peintres de la vie. Paris, 1888, pp. 94–96.
Charles Bigot. Peintres français contemporains. Paris, 1888, pp. 121–23.
Gustave Larroumet. Henri Regnault, 1843–1871. Paris, 1889, pp. 23, 65.
Benjamin Constant. "La Peinture du siècle." La Vie artistique (September 22, 1889), p. 244, notes that he had seen it a few years before at the Galerie Georges Petit and that the yellow background drapery is toned down; comments favorably upon the manner in which the facial features have been painted.
Jules Breton. Nos peintres du siècle. Paris, [189?], p. 208.
Alfred de Lostalot. L'École française de Delacroix à Regnault. Paris, , pp. 152, 156, ill. (frontispiece, etching by Rajon).
Alphonse Bacheret. Une centaine de peintres: The Works of One Hundred Great Masters (Engraved) with Descriptive Text. Philadelphia, [1895?], vol. 9-10, pl. 59.
Arthur Duparc, ed. Correspondance de Henri Regnault. Paris, 1904, pp. 260–61, 273, 275, 277, 279, 321, 326, 342–45, 357–67, 391, 429.
Léonce Bénédite. "Regnault (Henri): Salomé." Les Maîtres contemporains no. 10 (1912), unpaginated, no. 55, ill. (color), states that Brame bought this picture from Madrid, without having seen it, for Fr 13,000; relates that prior to the Carcano sale, a subscription was begun to raise funds to keep the painting in France, but that it was outbid by Roland Knoedler for the purchase price of Fr 528,000; notes that Knoedler delayed sending the picture to New York to allow the French government another opportunity to meet his price; comments that the picture was begun in Rome in March 1869 and completed in Tangier in early 1870.
"Want 'Salome' in Louvre." New York Times (May 29, 1912), p. 5.
"France to Keep 'Salome'." New York Times (May 30, 1912), p. 4, the day before the Carcano sale, reports that the fundraising effort to purchase this picture for the Louvre is being led by Henri de Rothschild and appears to be successful.
"Regnault 'Salome' Coming to America." New York Times (May 31, 1912), p. 6, describes the sale of this picture to Knoedler "amid groans and hisses" in the auction room; comments that "the loss of the picture is regretted the more keenly here" because Regnault was killed during the Franco-Prussian war in 1871.
"'Salome' May Come Here." New York Times (June 14, 1912), p. 4.
"Our Gain in Art Disturbs France." New York Times (June 9, 1912), p. C3.
"Louvre Has Option to Buy 'Salome'." New York Times (June 1, 1912), p. 3.
"Reveals Romance of Salome Model." New York Times (June 29, 1912), p. 1, relates the story of Maria Latini, the model for this picture, who was the fiancée of a friend of Regnault.
"More Time to Buy 'Salome'." New York Times (July 1, 1912), p. 6.
R[obert]. E. D[ell]. "Art in France." Burlington Magazine 21 (July 1912), pp. 235–36, 240.
Raymond Bouyer. "Galeries et collections: la Collection Carcano." Revue de l'art ancien et moderne 31 (April 1912), p. 313, ill. opp. p. 312.
"'Salome' for America." New York Times (January 5, 1913), p. C2.
Robert Dell. "Paris Letter: New Galleries." American Art News 11 (April 12, 1913), p. 5, mentions having seen this picture in Knoedler's Paris gallery.
"Art Museum Gets Regnault's Salome." New York Times (August 11, 1916), pp. 1, 9.
H. T. Sudduth. "Regnault's 'Salome'." New York Times (August 20, 1916), p. E2, ill. p. RP1.
"The 'Salome' of Henri Regnault." Vanity Fair 6 (August 1916), p. 47, ill. p. 46.
B[ryson]. B[urroughs]. "Regnault's Salome." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 11 (August 1916), pp. 164–66, ill. on cover, states that it was begun in 1868 and finished in 1870.
Florence N. Levy. "The Art Market." American Magazine of Art 9 (November 1917), pp. 10, 12, ill. p. 2.
Georges Rivière. Renoir et ses amis. Paris, 1921, p. 47.
Henri Focillon. La Peinture aux XIXe et XXe siècles: Du réalisme à nos jours. Paris, 1928, p. 101.
Joseph C. Sloane. French Painting Between the Past and the Present: Artists, Critics, and Traditions, from 1848 to 1870. [reprint 1973]. Princeton, 1951, p. 177, fig. 87.
Mario Praz. The Romantic Agony. 2nd ed. London, 1954, pp. 301, 392 n. 20, compares it to Regnault's "Summary Execution under the Moorish Kings of Grenada" (1870, Musée d'Orsay, Paris); mentions Théodore de Banville's poem inspired by The Met's picture (see Banville 1870).
Theodore Rousseau Jr. "A Guide to the Picture Galleries." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 12, part 2 (January 1954), p. 7, ill. p. 54.
John Rewald. The History of Impressionism. rev., enl. ed. New York, 1961, pp. 242, 268 n. 8a, ill.
Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 2, XIX Century. New York, 1966, pp. 201–4, ill.
Introduction by Kenneth Clark. Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1970, p. 312, no. 370, ill.
Carl R. Baldwin. "The Salon of '72." Art News 71 (May 1972), p. 20, ill.
Christopher Sells. "Paris." Burlington Magazine 114 (February 1972), p. 110.
Carl R. Baldwin. The Impressionist Epoch. Exh. brochure, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. [New York], 1974, p. 11.
Julius Kaplan. Gustave Moreau. Exh. cat., Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Los Angeles, 1974, p. 34, fig. 21.
Fine Continental Pictures of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Christie's, London. May 7, 1976, p. 25, under no. 111, illustrates a sketch for this picture.
Anthea Callen. Renoir. London, 1978, p. 11, fig. 4.
Gudrun Schubert. "Women and Symbolism: Imagery and Theory." Oxford Art Journal 3 (April 1980), p. 30.
Donald A. Rosenthal. Orientalism: The Near East in French Painting 1800–1880. Exh. cat., Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester. Rochester, N.Y., 1982, p. 85, fig. 83.
Julius Kaplan. The Art of Gustave Moreau: Theory, Style, and Content. PhD diss., Columbia University. Ann Arbor, 1982, p. 57, states that it may have been the source for Moreau's idea to paint Salome.
Anne Hudson Jones and Karen Kingsley. "Salome in Late Nineteenth-Century French Art and Literature." Studies in Iconography 9 (1983), pp. 108–11, 123, fig. 1, comment that Flaubert was influenced by this picture when he wrote "Hérodias".
Richard Shiff. Cézanne and the End of Impressionism. Chicago, 1984, pp. 85, 87, 95, fig. 13.
T. J. Clark. The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and His Followers. New York, 1984, pp. 115–16, 294 n. 122, fig. 39, quotes from Ref. Lemonnier 1870, noting the critic's assumption that the figure of Salomé was also a courtesan.
Lucy Oakley inRecent Acquisitions: A Selection, 1986–1987. New York, 1987, p. 39, relates it to Alfred Steven's "In the Studio," which depicts a model posing as Salomé.
Geneviève Lacambre. "Le Temps du Salon." L'Art du XIXe siècle, 1850–1905. Ed. Françoise Cachin. Paris, 1990, p. 42.
Jean-Patrice Marandel inFrédéric Bazille: Prophet of Impressionism. Exh. cat., Musée Fabre, Montpellier. Brooklyn, 1992, p. 73, fig. 35.
Mireille Dottin-Orsini. "'Salomé' de Henri Regnault, genèse et description d'un tableau légendaire." Textes, Images, Musique. Ed. Andrée Mansau and Jean-Louis Cabanès. Toulouse, 1992, pp. 30–45, ill., comments that by omitting the violent aspect of the Salomé story, Regnault presents not only the charming theme of an oriental dancer, but also a sacriligeous image of Salomé as heroine; discusses how this picture's critical reception and the uproar over its leaving France was colored by patriotic, antisemitic, and misogynistic overtones.
Chuji Ikegami. New History of World Art. Vol. 22, Period of Impressionism. Tokyo, 1993, pp. 433–34, ill. p. 434 and colorpl. 179.
Murielle Gagnebin. "Cranach et l'excès: Les aventures d'une table trop blanche." La Part de l'Oeil no. 9 (1993), p. 59, ill., erroneously locates it in Washington.
Gary Tinterow and Henri Loyrette. Origins of Impressionism. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1994, pp. 33, 324, 337, fig. 40, call the figure a "charming girl in Turkish slippers from Tangier".
John House. Renoir, Master Impressionist. Exh. cat., Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane. Sydney, 1994, pp. 45–46, fig. 18.
Barbara Wright, ed. Correspondance d'Eugène Fromentin. Vol. 2, 1859–1876. [Paris], 1995, p. 1699 n. 2, notes that Ferdinand Humbert's "Dalila," exhibited at the 1873 Salon, was stylistically similar to this picture.
Dianne W. Pitman. Bazille: Purity, Pose, and Painting in the 1860s. University Park, Pa., 1998, pp. 9, 11–12, 16–25, 28–30, 32, 46, 48, 233 n. 3, p. 234 nn. 16, 20, 23–24, 27–29, p. 235 nn. 36, 39, 43, 50, p. 236 n. 67, fig. 3, discusses its critical reception at the Salon of 1870.
Hollis Clayson. Paris in Despair: Art and Everyday Life under Siege (1870–71). Chicago, 2002, pp. 238, 251.
Caterina Y. Pierre. "'A New Formula for High Art': The Genesis and Reception of Marcello's 'Pythia'." Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide. Vol. 2, Autumn 2003 [http://www.19thc-artworldwide.org/autumn03/73-autumn03/autumn03article/271-qa-new-formula-for-high-artq-the-genesis-and-reception-of-marcellos-pythia], states that the sculptor Marcello used the same model, called by her "Gypsy Marie," for a bust of a female figure (lost); notes similarities between this picture and Marcello's bronze "Pythia" (1870; Opéra Garnier, Paris) and suggests that Regnault was influenced by Marcello's etching of Salomé; asserts that Regnault completed this picture in Morocco using a different model named Aïscha-Tchama, and that he enlarged the picture at the suggestion of Mariano Fortuny [see Ref. Hooper 1875).
Céline Eidenbenz in Helen Bieri Thomson and Céline Eidenbenz. Salomé: Danse et décadence. Exh. cat., Fondation Neumann. Gingins, Switzerland, 2003, p. 7.
Roger Benjamin. Orientalist Aesthetics: Art, Colonialism, and French North Africa, 1880–1930. Berkeley, 2003, pp. 25, 27.
Marc Gotlieb. "De Rome à Tanger: Cadre et trajectoire d'une formation à caractère subversif." Peut-on enseigner l'art? Ed. Fabrice Douar and Matthias Waschek. Paris, 2004, pp. 71–77, 84, fig. 4, calls it an improvised painting, which contributed to its controversial reception at the Salon of 1870; discusses the visual impact of the black frame chosen by Regnault.
Gary Tinterow and Asher Ethan Miller inThe Wrightsman Pictures. Ed. Everett Fahy. New York, 2005, p. 396, fig. 1.
Marc Gotlieb. "Legends of the Painter Hero: Remembering Henri Regnault." Nationalism and French Visual Culture, 1870–1914. Ed. June Hargrove and Neil McWilliam. Washington, 2005, pp. 103–4, 118, 121, 124 n. 3, fig. 1.
Atsuko Ogane. La Genèse de la danse de Salomé: L'"Appareil scientifique" et la symbolique polyvalente dans "Hérodias" de Flaubert. Tokyo, 2006, p. 7 n. 29, p. 173 n. 3, p. 174.
Marc Bochet. Salomé, du voile au dévoilé: Métamorphoses littéraires et artistiques d'une figure biblique. Paris, 2007, p. 41 nn. 3–4, pp. 83, 100.
Gary Tinterow inThe Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, p. 9.
Rebecca A. Rabinow inMasterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 158, 295–96, no. 147, ill. (color and black and white).
Marc Gotlieb. "Figures of Sublimity in Orientalist Painting." Dialogues in Art History, from Mesopotamian to Modern: Readings for a New Century. Ed. Elizabeth Cropper. Washington, 2009, pp. 328–36, 340 nn. 64–65, p. 341 n. 80, fig. 7 (color).
Paul-Louis Durand-Ruel and Flavie Durand-Ruel inManet, inventeur du Moderne. Exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay. Paris, 2011, p. 284.
Samuel Montiège inBenjamin-Constant: Marvels and Mirages of Orientalism. Ed. Nathalie Bondil. Exh. cat., Musée des Augustins, Toulouse. Montreal, 2014, pp. 42, 76 [French ed., 2014], mentions that Benjamin-Constant's "Judith" (The Met, 59.185) was "certainly indebted to and directly influenced by" it.
Nathalie Bondil inBenjamin-Constant: Marvels and Mirages of Orientalism. Ed. Nathalie Bondil. Exh. cat., Musée des Augustins, Toulouse. Montreal, 2014, pp. 54, 60, 372, fig. 41 (color) [French ed., 2014], cites Benjamin-Constant's comments on it in Constant 1889.
Christine Peltre inBenjamin-Constant: Marvels and Mirages of Orientalism. Ed. Nathalie Bondil. Exh. cat., Musée des Augustins, Toulouse. Montreal, 2014, p. 103 [French ed., 2014].
Peter Cooke. Gustave Moreau: History Painting, Spirituality and Symbolism. New Haven, 2014, pp. 81, 84, 86, 209 n. 65, p. 210 n. 87, fig. 47, discusses it as the model against which Gustave Moreau reacted in producing his own version of the subject ("Salome," 1876, The Armand Hammer Collection, Los Angeles); states that Regnault trivialized the subject, citing Regnault's letter of October 1869 as proof of his use of the subject as mere pretext.
Colin B. Bailey. "How He Ruled Art." New York Review of Books 62 (December 3, 2015), p. 62, notes that it was one of the sensations of the Salon of 1870 and discusses the high price Durand-Ruel paid for it.
The model for this picture was Maria Latini, whom Regnault met in Rome. The painting was etched by P. Rajon and engraved on wood by Albert Duvivier. An oil sketch on panel of the composition was sold at Christie's, London, on May 7, 1976 and a smaller watercolor version was sold at Jean-Pierre Osenat, Fontainebleau, France on February 26, 1989.