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Alone with her child, Sophie Carrière rests her head upon her hand with a gaze of motherly love and contentment. The baby, possibly the artist’s third daughter Nelly, studies a book with innocent curiosity. Whilst the artist’s focus is on the interaction between mother and baby, the features of a room: a painting, a chair and a table materialise from the darkness.
Detail became increasingly unimportant to Carrière during the 1880s and by 1886 even his commissioned portraits began to blend into their backgrounds. In this private work his brushstrokes are fluid and painterly. The harmony between mother and child is echoed in the carefully balanced composition: the powerful left to right diagonal of the figures balanced by vertical from the doorway behind. He uses a similar composition in Le Goûter (c.1886, Musée du Louvre), where Madame Carrière watches over her baby at mealtime.
To be included in the Catalogue raisonné des peintures d'Eugène Carrière, Rodolphe Rapetti, Veronique Milin-Dumesnil, Alice Bourgoin-Lamarre, Gallimard, Paris.