The Two Majesties (Les Deux Majestés)

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Jean-Léon Gérôme (French, 1824–1904)
The Two Majesties (Les Deux Majestés), 1883
Oil on canvas
27 1/4 × 50 3/4 in. (69.22 × 128.91 cm)
Layton Art Collection Inc., Gift of Louis Allis L1968.82
Photo credit: John Nienhuis
Currently on View

A highly esteemed Salon painter and respected professor at the École des Beaux-Arts, Jean-Léon Gérôme embodied the artistic establishment of late-nineteenth-century Paris. Like Delacroix and Chassériau before him, Gérôme recorded the daily life and customs of the people and places he saw on his many travels to North Africa and the Near East with the zeal of an ethnographer. This painting is remarkable for its quiet solemnity. A huge, solitary lion, the king of the beasts, gazes across the seemingly endless terrain at the majestic setting sun, thus explaining the romantic title. The eerie grandeur is dramatized by the lion's profile, the single vertical element, against the horizontal planes of the desert.

Publication History
Kelly, Chelsea Emelie. People's Choice: Your Top 25 Works of Art in the Collection. Milwaukee Art Museum: Under the Wings, April 5, 2013.

Eastberg, John C. and Eric Vogel. Layton’s Legacy: A Historic American Art Collection 1888–2013. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Layton Art Collection, Inc., 2013, pp. 116, 332–33, 358–61, color pl. 33, pp. 358–59, color illus. p. 332, color detail pp. 360–61, photo of installation pp. 379 and 389.

Cass, Jeffrey, and Larry H. Peer. Romantic Border Crossings. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2008. cover illus.

Andera, Margaret, Nonie Gadsden, Britt Salvesen, and Laurie Winters. Collection Guide: Milwaukee Art Museum. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 2004, pp. 20 and 68, cat. 25, color illus. p. 20.

Milwaukee Art Museum. Building a Masterpiece: Milwaukee Art Museum. New York: Hudson Hill Press, 2001, p. 89, color illus.

Lafont-Couturier, Hélène. Gérôme. Paris: Herscher, 1998, color illus. p. 85.

Leighton, John and Malcolm Wroe. Surprised! The Paintings of Henri Rousseau. Chicago, Illinois: Home Vision, 1993.

Milwaukee Art Museum. 1888: Frederick Layton and His World. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1988, pp. 110–11, cat. 37, color illus. p. 111.

Shapiro, Michael Edward, and Peter H. Hassrick. Frederic Remington: The Masterworks. New York: Abrams, 1988, p. 51, b/w fig. 24.

Goldstein, Rosalie, ed. Guide to the Permanent Collection. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1986, p. 85, color illus. p. 85.

Noyes Robert W. and Robert Rosner. Ring Around the Sun, The Sciences (December 1981): 15–18 and 32, illus. p. 18.

The Great Artists 75: Their Lives, Works and Inspiration. London: Marshall Cavendish, 1976, color illus. p. 2381.

Milwaukee Art Center. Mirrors of the 19th Century Taste: Academic Painting. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Center, 1974, cat. 32.

Ackerman, Gerald M. Gérôme: Reassessing a Scorned Painter, Art News 72, no. 1 (January 1973): 32–35, illus. p. 34.

Ackerman, Gerald M. Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904). Dayton, Ohio: Dayton Art Institute, 1972, p. 84, cat. 34, illus. p. 84. (dated 1883)

Milwaukee Journal, Editorial Section (Art Page), Sunday, November 26, 1972, p. 4, illus.

Boime, Albert. Jean-Léon Gérôme, Henri Rousseau’s Sleeping Gypsy and the Academic Legacy, Art Quarterly XXXIV, no. 1, 1971, p. 19, fig. 10. (engraving after painting)

Jean Leon Gerome, The Milwaukee Sentinel, December 24, 1899, p. 4.

Allis, Edward Phelps. Edward P. Allis: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1888, no. 17.

Goupil & Cie./Boussod, Valadon & Co. Stock Books. Book 11, Goupil No. 16826, p. 90, row 7. Archive database, The Getty Research Institute.
Exhibition History
1888: Frederick Layton and His World, Milwaukee Art Museum, April 8–August 28, 1988.

Mirrors of 19th Century Taste: Academic Painting, Milwaukee Art Center, July 14–August 25, 1974.

Jean-Leon Gerome (1824-1904), Dayton Art Institute, November 10–December 31, 1972; Walters Art Gallery, April 6–May 20, 1973; Minneapolis Institute of Arts, January 26–March 11, 1973.

This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.