895/​19

L. A. Smith (b. Copenhagen 1820, d. s.p. 1906)

The little Mermaid and the Prince. Signed and dated L. A. Smith 1851. Oil on canvas. 100×73 cm.

H. C. Andersens folkeeventyr “Den lille Havfrue” udkom i 1837 i tredje hefte af “Eventyr, fortalte for Børn”. Enhver voksen som ethvert barn kender 'Den lille Havfrue', der særligt i form af Edvard Eriksens bronceskulptur, opstillet på Langelinie i København i 1913, har opnået verdensberømmelse. I Andersens historie redder havfruen prinsen fra druknedøden på havet. Hun forelsker sig i ham og får ved en heks' mellemkomst forvandlet sin fiskehale til et par menneskeben, som hun dog kun kan bruge under svære smerter. Forvandlingen koster hende også stemmen, og kun hvis hun formår at vinde prinsens kærlighed og blive gift med denne, opnår hun menneskenes udødelige sjæl. Vælger prinsen en anden til hustru, vil havfruen blive til skum på havet. Det sidste bliver havfruens sørgelige skæbne i Andersens fortælling. L. A. Smiths version af mødet mellem havfruen og hendes udkårne synes ikke at trække på en konkret scene i Andersens eventyr eller for den sags skyld på brødrene Grimms eventyr om “Havfruen i dammen” fra 1843. Hos Smith ser det ud til, at den prinseligt klædte ungersvend har fanget sin havfrue i et åløb ved hjælp af en fiskestang, hendes havfruehale er endnu intakt og lykkelige, forelskede smil ses på de tos læber - deres verdeners uforenelighed kaster her endnu ingen dystre skygger.

Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale “The Little Mermaid” was first published in 1837 as part of the third collection of “Fairy Tales Told for Children”. Every adult, as well as every child, knows “The Little Mermaid”, who in the shape of Edvard Eriksen's 1913 bronze sculpture at Langelinie in Copenhagen has gained worldwide fame. In Andersen's story, the mermaid rescues a prince from drowning at sea. She falls in love with him, and with the help of a witch, the mermaid turns her fishtail into a pair of human legs, which she can only use while enduring severe pain. The transformation also costs her the use of her voice, and only if she manages to win the prince's love and marry him will she achieve the immortal soul of mankind. If the prince chooses another wife, the mermaid will turn into foam on the waves of the sea. The latter turns out to be the mournful fate of the mermaid in Andersen's tale. Ludvig August Smith's version of the meeting between the mermaid and her heart’s desire does not seem to draw on any specific scene in Andersen's story or, for that matter, on the Brothers Grimm's tale of “The Mermaid in the Pond” from 1843. In Smith’s painting, it appears as if the princely dressed bachelor has caught his mermaid in a stream using a fishing rod. Her mermaid tail is still intact, and happy, loving smiles are seen on both pair of lips – the incompatibility of their two worlds has yet to cast any gloomy shadows here.

Condition

Condition report on request. Please contact: fine-art@bruun-rasmussen.dk

Auction

Paintings, 9 June 2020

Category
Estimate

40,000–50,000 kr.

Price realised

Not sold