Portrait cut in two halves, or what separated Frederic Chopin and George Sand

(Originally posted here:   http://zveneczi.tumblr.com/post/1011024673/delacroix-chopin-and-sand   )

Modern hypothetical reconstruction of the painting, based on the circa 1838preliminary sketch of Eugene Delacroix’s joint portrait of Frédéric Chopin and George Sand.

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The double portrait showed composer Frédéric Chopin playing piano while writer George Sand sits to his left, listening and sewing (a favorite activity of hers). The sitters were lovers at the time, and both were close friends of the artist.

The portrait remained in Delacroix’s studio until his death. Shortly afterward, it was cut into two separate works, both of which are tightly focused. Chopin’s portrait comprises only a head shot, while Sand’s shows her upper body but is narrowly cut. This led to the loss of large areas of the original canvas. The reason for the divide is likely the then-owner’s belief that two paintings would sell for a higher price than one [?].

Today Chopin’s portrait is housed at the Louvre in Paris, while Sand’s hangs at Copenhagen’s Ordrupgaard Museum

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The double portrait showed Chopin playing piano while Sand sat and listened. Little is known of the painting’s origin or the circumstances of its execution. It is not known whether it was a commission or intended as a gift to the composer. It is known that Delacroix borrowed a piano so that the work could be painted in his studio. The double portrait was not finished, and ironically one of the elements that was not painted was the piano.