Louis Welden Hawkins (British, 1849-1910) By the cottage steps
Lot 95
Louis Welden Hawkins
(British, 1849-1910)
By the cottage steps
£10,000 - 15,000
US$ 17,000 - 25,000
Lot Details
Louis Welden Hawkins (British, 1849-1910)
By the cottage steps
signed 'L WELDEN HAWKINS' (upper left) oil on canvas
84 x 47cm (33 1/16 x 18 1/2in).


  • Louis Welden Hawkins was born in Germany to English parents. As a young man he attended the Académie Julian, under W. A. Bouguereau and Jules Lefebvre, and the Académie des Beaux-Arts under Gustave Boulanger.

    Despite studying under three such luminaries of Academy painting, Hawkins' most profound influences were Jules Bastien-Lepage, the great champion of Realism, and the Symbolist Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. In the 1870s, Hawkins was drawn to the 'pretty and very melancholy village' (as Robert Louis Stevenson described it) of Grez-sur-Loing, close to the Forest of Fontainbleau, where a community of artists was being established. John Singer Sargent was an early visitor, describing Grez as 'a veritable nest of bohemians'. By the 1880s, the community boasted an impressive colony of artists, such as William Stott of Oldham, James Guthrie, Arthur Melville, John Lavery and Roderic O'Connor, and the walls of many major European exhibitions were adorned with works painted in the picturesque village.

    Hawkins first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1881; his large canvas Les Orphelins was greeted with great critical acclaim and purchased for the Nation. He continued to exhibit at the Salon, as well as at La Société des Artistes Francais, showing Grez subjects alongside his contemporaries such as Stott, O'Meara and Sargent.

    Hawkins' style gradually developed a more Symbolist tendency, exhibiting alongside his hero Puvis de Chavannes at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux Artes from 1894–1911, and at the radical Salon de la Rose+Croix from 1894–95. However the artist continued to produce plein air works throughout his career, many painted in Brittany, where the artist spent his later years.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the model for the present lot is most likely Mere Moreau, a local woman at Grez-sur-Loing, who sat for many of the artists in the colony. The same sitter appears in Peasant Woman in a Landscape, c.1880, which is in the collection of Yvonne and Gabriel P. Weisberg, Minneapolis.
  1. Peter Rees
    Specialist - 19th Century Paintings
    101 New Bond Street
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    United Kingdom
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