The Cock and the Pearl by Gustav Adolf Mossa
Gustav-Adolf Mossa’s paintings are subversive, playful and unforgettable. There is so much detail in each of these works, and while everything is stylized there is still emotional presence. You might recall one of his pieces from the Pierrot post last week. Intrigued by the concept of the Femme Fatale, much of his work features beautiful and somewhat tragic female heroines, often taken from myth or literature. There is also a certain distaste for Catholicism and fascination with perversion – Mary Magdalene climbs half-nude atop Christ’s crucified body, a noble woman powders her face beside a fetus in a jar, Helen tenderly kisses a corpse. Nudity and fatality aplenty!
Oddly, very little information is available online about this Symbolist painter. What my questionable French has allowed me to decipher from bits and pieces follows. Gustav Mossa, (1883-1971) was inspired by the work of Baudelaire among other authors, and his style takes its influences from Art Nouveau and the Preraphaélites. Marchesa Luisa Casati was one of his patrons, though I’ve yet to find a depiction of her in his work. He worked nonstop for fifteen years, 1903 to 1918, and then stopped suddenly, producing nothing but gaining popularity.
Thirty-eight of his major works are on display in The Fine Art museum of Nice. I did manage to find an online gallery of Mossa art here, a few more here, and there are more not entirely safe for work images beyond the jump – enjoy!
She by Gustav Adolf Mossa
David and Bathsheba by Gustav Adolf Mossa
Circe by Gustav Adolf Mossa