Skip to content

Retro Rule Five: Léon-François Comerre and the mystery of the original Danae


“Léon François Comerre (Trélon 1850 – Paris 1916). Comerre’s artistic talent showed itself from a very early age…”
Comerre, while not prolific, had completed a few very well-known and still popular canvases.  One of these is of Danae, she of Zeus’ golden rain.  Or rather, there appear to be two of them.  One is a panel sister to another of his famous works: Le Triomphe du Cygne, 1908.  The other appears to be a copy in the full rectangle – or perhaps it is the original?  Sotheby’s sold the ‘other’ a few years ago.  Appearing below is the twain: The panel Danae atop, and below, the ‘other’.

. . .

Léon-François Comerre: Danae, undated, panel

. . .

Léon-François Comerre: Danae, undated, the original?

. . .

If indeed Danae was such a beauty, one can see why Zeus would take interest.  I’ve examined both images, scaled them relative to anchor points common to both, overlain them in Photoshop and found that the compositions are strikingly similar. It is possible that Comerre used geometric or photographic techniques in making the sister copy – whichever it is. Very difficult to say. (That, or one of these is indeed not by Comerre?)  Which do you prefer?

Speaking of classical beauties… do drop by Bob’s for a view of Eve Meyer.  Which reminds me… if you start seing double, maybe you’re OK.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. 2011/01/05 03:33

    LA, Steven,
    Gents, I promised you that the next would be “golden showers.” As in Zeus, of course, this being a family show. Sort of.

  2. 2011/01/05 09:34


    It’s awfully hard to choose between these too, especially given the possibility that any differences in these images could be a matter of photographic techniques.

    I’d pick the bottom of the two, because I prefer the deeper contrasts, but I’m not sure the difference exists in the paintings themselves. One thing I’ve learned as a painter is that photography is difficult. Photographing paintings to post online poses a host of challenges I never expected to deal with.

    Sorry for my recent online silence, but I’ve been hard at work on a large painting of the National Palace of Sintra. (I’ll open a show of Portuguese landscapes this spring.) I hope to have it finished any day now, and, assuming I can photograph it, I’ll post it soon.

  3. 2011/01/05 14:10

    Thanks Steven! Shall be glad to see Sintra. Cheers!

  4. bobbelvedere permalink
    2011/01/05 21:19

    There’s much to be said for both. If I had the money, I’d purchase both and have them across from each other in my den or library – this would be ideal.

    Steven: The Palace Of Sinatra?

  5. 2011/01/06 11:15

    No Bob, although that’s a common mistake. The palace of Sinatra is in Hoboken. The Palace of Sintra is here:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: