Jean-Léon Gérôme – admired, mocked, forgotten. Only recently has the star of the Paris Salons and opponent of the Impressionists regained the attention of museums. In the depiction of Jerome, the exotic lion is one of the saint’s attributes. The similarity of the protagonist’s name with Gérôme’s own gives the work’s interpretation an ironic twist. The artist’s middle name – Léon – alludes in turn to the lion. In this painting, the ‘lion of the salons’ displayed his masterful painting technique, which did not shy away even from the dirt on the soles of the saint’s feet.
The distinguished Frankfurt banker Otto Hauck (1863–1934), partner in the long-standing Bankhaus Georg Hauck & Sohn, brought his talents to bear in many contexts: as president of the chamber of commerce during the difficult period of inflation, on the board of trustees of the university, and as a patron of the arts, for example in the Städelscher Museums-Verein. From his estate, the Städel received two paintings from his collection.