On July 12 in London, Sotheby's sells The Siren, oil on canvas 81 x 53 cm painted in 1901, lot 12 estimated £ 1M.
The cute enchantress is perched on her rock. Entirely nude, she holds the lyre which is the symbol of her charm. She leans forward to watch a sailor drowning in front of her and sings softly. She does not understand that she could reach out to save the man. The two young people look at each other, attracted by their opposite passions, her destructive charm and his impossible appeal for help.
Waterhouse does not confuse Siren with Mermaid, although the leg calves of his Siren are covered with scales that merge into the spray. He painted in the same year a pretty naked Mermaid seated within the circle of her fishtail. There is no male in that scene : perhaps he has already been devoured.
Another voracious painting featuring six nude nymphs catching a man in a pond caused a scandal in January 2018 : it had been removed from the Manchester Art Gallery at the request of puritan feminists who wanted to trigger a debate on the exposure of women's bodies.
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
SOLD for £ 3.8M including premium