Paul Emile Chabas
(French, 1869 – 1937)
Study of a maiden
Oil on board
Signed Paul Chabas (lower right)
12 x 9.1/4 in. (30.7 x 23.7 cm.)
Paul Emile Chabas won the Prix Nationale at the 1889 Paris Salon and a gold medal at the Expositionale in 1900. A scandal followed him regarding his painting ‘September Morn’ when Anthony Comstock (head of the New York society for the suppression of Vice) protested against the painting, this sent Chabas into anonymity in the South of France. He refused to identify the model, only referring to her as Marthe. As late as 1935 rumours circulated that she was living in poverty and many Americans wanted to come to her aid. He did not intend to sell ‘September Morn’ in 1912, setting a prohibitive price of $10,000 on it, but the price was met by Leon Mantashev – the son of an oil magnate. Chabas died in Paris in 1937 after a long illness. Now a widower, he died in a room where there was only one painting – a copy of ‘September Morn’ which he had painted from memory. ‘September Morn’ is now in the Metropolitan Museum in New York.