The Naiads

1877
Oil on canvas
H. 170cm x W. 315cm

Henner did not paint many big decorative pieces like The Naiads, which was a private commission for the  dining room of Mr and Mrs Soyer who lived in a mansion at 43 rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré in Paris. The artist knew their son-in-law, Paul Sédille, the architect who designed the buildings of the department store, Magasins du Printemps. Marie Henner bought the work in 1920 to display in the museum, which also holds some of the drawings and preparatory studies for the painting.

The artist had already exhibited a Naiad (a water nymph in Greek mythology) at the 1875 Salon. This is one of the rare scenes painted by Henner showing several figures and the composition has a certain clumsiness to it.