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"Actaeon in Flight, " Large Painting of Mythological Scene w/ Male Nude, 1942

About the Item

This stunning example of Art Deco painting illustrates the dramatic moment when the hunter Actaeon, having seen the nude Diana in her bath, is meeting his death. Here Actaeon himself is fully nude, and is being transformed into a deer as he is being pursued by Diana's avengers. The classic myth says that Diana's hounds pursued him to his death, but here he is being shown pierced with arrows, which may be the artist's way of comparing Actaeon's fate to the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian. The artist was William Littlefield, who painted a series of mythological scenes with nude figures in the 1920s, 30s and 40s, as well as a celebrated boxer series during this time. Littlefield exhibited widely in the 1930s and 1940s, and his works are in the collections of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford. He was very well connected to the art world of New York and New England, and painted a stunning life-size portrait of Lincoln Kirstein, who co-founded the New York City Ballet. This painting is also fascinating from an art historical perspective because Littlefield documented the particular mix of oil, tempera and resin that he used for this painting on the reverse.
  • Creator:
  • Dimensions:
    Height: 36.5 in (92.71 cm)Width: 23.75 in (60.33 cm)Depth: 1 in (2.54 cm)
  • Style:
    Art Deco (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques:
  • Place of Origin:
  • Period:
  • Date of Manufacture:
    1942
  • Condition:
    Wear consistent with age and use.
  • Seller Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
  • Reference Number:
    1stDibs: LU865127427682
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