June 3, 2018 14:00 EST

American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionists

 
  Lot 19
 

19

THOMAS EAKINS (AMERICAN 1844–1916)
"WOMAN IN SHADE" (ARCADIAN STUDY); WITH A STUDY OF A HORSE VERSO

Oil on panel
9 15/16 x 7 15/16 in. (25.2 x 20.2cm)
Executed circa 1883.

Provenance: The Artist.
The Artist's wife, Susan Macdowell Eakins, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1916.
Babcock Galleries, New York, New York, 1938.
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Hackett, New York, New York 1943.
Private Collection, Los Angeles, California, 1961.
Private Collection, New York, New York.
EXHIBITED:
"Exhibition of Sketches, Studies and Intimate Paintings by Thomas Eakins, 1844-1916," Babcock Galleries, New York, New York, October 31-November 25, 1939, no. 1 or 2.
LITERATURE:
Lloyd Goodrich, Thomas Eakins: His Life and Work, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1933, p. 186, no. 181 (illustrated as "Head of a Girl").
NOTE:
In the early 1880s, Thomas Eakins found solace by trading the confines of modern Philadelphia for the quietude of the Pennsylvania countryside. There, he enjoyed an American pastoral idyll, which he tried to immortalize by photographing himself and his friends, most often nude, in various poses inspired by classical models. Some of the photographs were used as studies for subsequent paintings, including "The Swimming Hole" (Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Austin, Texas) and "Arcadia" (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York), which are all a reflection of Eakins' strong commitment to the nude; and yearning for simpler, more natural times.
Eakins' fascination with the classical nude is not wholly surprising, as he was trained in the most rigorous Art Academies of the United States and France, where antiquity was the core of instruction and the filter through which modern life was evaluated. While in Paris, Eakins studied with Jean-Léon Gérome, whose 1848 "Anacreon" explored a variant of antique peacefulness and tranquility. While Eakins was working on his arcadian series, other artists worked on their own utopian images, including William Adolphe Bouguereau, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, John Abbott McNeill Whistler and Pierre Puvis de Chavannes.
The present piece portrays a young woman in profile. Set against a green background, she is wearing a low-neck gown, a reminder of the classic attire. Her face lies almost completely in the shadow, adding to the pervasive, yet understated melancholy which characterizes the portrait. An open-air study, the portrait's palette is dominated by intense dark greens and earth tones. The figure's neck is anchored by some of the bright yellow-greens that show prominently in other arcadian sketches by Eakins. The female figure depicted here may very well be Susan Macdowell, the artist's wife. It is most likely a direct transcription of a nude photograph Eakins took of her around 1880.
The reverse of the present piece depicts an oil study of a horse, which Thomas Eakins had in mind for the painting "A May Morning in the Park (The Fairman Rogers Four-in-Hand)," executed between 1879-1880 and now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Sold for $17,500
Estimated at $15,000 - $25,000


 

Oil on panel
9 15/16 x 7 15/16 in. (25.2 x 20.2cm)
Executed circa 1883.

Provenance: The Artist.
The Artist's wife, Susan Macdowell Eakins, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1916.
Babcock Galleries, New York, New York, 1938.
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Hackett, New York, New York 1943.
Private Collection, Los Angeles, California, 1961.
Private Collection, New York, New York.
EXHIBITED:
"Exhibition of Sketches, Studies and Intimate Paintings by Thomas Eakins, 1844-1916," Babcock Galleries, New York, New York, October 31-November 25, 1939, no. 1 or 2.
LITERATURE:
Lloyd Goodrich, Thomas Eakins: His Life and Work, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1933, p. 186, no. 181 (illustrated as "Head of a Girl").
NOTE:
In the early 1880s, Thomas Eakins found solace by trading the confines of modern Philadelphia for the quietude of the Pennsylvania countryside. There, he enjoyed an American pastoral idyll, which he tried to immortalize by photographing himself and his friends, most often nude, in various poses inspired by classical models. Some of the photographs were used as studies for subsequent paintings, including "The Swimming Hole" (Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Austin, Texas) and "Arcadia" (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York), which are all a reflection of Eakins' strong commitment to the nude; and yearning for simpler, more natural times.
Eakins' fascination with the classical nude is not wholly surprising, as he was trained in the most rigorous Art Academies of the United States and France, where antiquity was the core of instruction and the filter through which modern life was evaluated. While in Paris, Eakins studied with Jean-Léon Gérome, whose 1848 "Anacreon" explored a variant of antique peacefulness and tranquility. While Eakins was working on his arcadian series, other artists worked on their own utopian images, including William Adolphe Bouguereau, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, John Abbott McNeill Whistler and Pierre Puvis de Chavannes.
The present piece portrays a young woman in profile. Set against a green background, she is wearing a low-neck gown, a reminder of the classic attire. Her face lies almost completely in the shadow, adding to the pervasive, yet understated melancholy which characterizes the portrait. An open-air study, the portrait's palette is dominated by intense dark greens and earth tones. The figure's neck is anchored by some of the bright yellow-greens that show prominently in other arcadian sketches by Eakins. The female figure depicted here may very well be Susan Macdowell, the artist's wife. It is most likely a direct transcription of a nude photograph Eakins took of her around 1880.
The reverse of the present piece depicts an oil study of a horse, which Thomas Eakins had in mind for the painting "A May Morning in the Park (The Fairman Rogers Four-in-Hand)," executed between 1879-1880 and now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins