Alfred Stevens (Belgian 1823-1906) Portrait of La Baronne du Mesnil de Saint-Front(formerly Mme. Feu Prosper Crabbe)

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Lot 11
Alfred Stevens (Belgian 1823-1906) Portrait of La Baronne du Mesnil de Saint-Front(formerly Mme. Feu Prosper Crabbe)

Sold for £ 29,875 (US$ 40,536) inc. premium
Alfred Stevens (Belgian 1823-1906)
Portrait of La Baronne du Mesnil de Saint-Front
(formerly Mme. Feu Prosper Crabbe)
signed and dated 'A. Stevens/87' (upper left)
pastel
194 x 84 cm. (76 3/8 x 33 in.)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Madame Crabbe, 1889;
    Le Baron du Mesnil de Saint-Front, Paris, 1900-1936;
    Thence by descent.

    Exhibited:
    Brussels, Exposition Triennale, 1887, no.575;
    Paris, Exposition Universelle, 1889, as Portrait de Dame en Pied;
    Brussels, Portraits du siècle, 1889, no.205;
    Paris, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, L'Oeuvre d'Alfred Stevens, no.123, as Portrait de Mme.du Mesnil

    Literature:
    January 31, 1887, Alfred Stevens' letter to Van der Donckt announcing the inception of the portrait of Mme. Crabbe;
    June 7, 1887, Alfred Stevens' letter to Le Roy announcing the portrait's completion (archives Le Roy);
    1889 Press release citing the work in relation to the exhibition Portraits du siècle;
    A.Chainaye, La Reforme, Brussels, 1889;
    C.Lemonnier, 1906, reproduced pl.XXXIX;
    G.Van Zype, Les Frères Stevens, Brussels, 1936, no.129

    We are grateful to the Comité Alfred Stevens for kindly confirming the authenticity of this lot which will be included in their forthcoming catalogue raisonné on the artist.

    Alfred Stevens began his formal training in painting in his native town of Brussels, at the Académie royale des beaux-arts, under François-Joseph Navez. In 1844, he pursued his studies in Paris, at the Ecole des beaux-arts, drawing and painting under the guidance of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Both teachers had been pupils of Jacques-Louis David. With this rigorous training in drawing and composition, the young Stevens won the jury’s medals at his first major public showings in Paris - the Salon of 1853 and the Exposition universelle, two years later. However, it was only following the later exhibition that Stevens turned away from the more traditional subjects of history painting in order to concentrate on female portraiture.

    Sensing the commercial interest in this field of the art market, Stevens rapidly became a leading exponent of the genre, depicting middle and upper-class women of the Belle Epoque. Contemporary collectors, including the Vanderbilts from America, commissioned paintings from the artist. The present portrait is a fine example of Stevens’ mastery of the subject at the height of his artistic output.
    Here, la Baronne stands in poised elegance, dressed and bejewelled to the fashion of the time. Her outward glance invites the viewer into her own genteel world. The external attributes of her social ranking – the fan, the gloves, the jewels and the silk dress – point to the fine taste and polished manners she carries with her title.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that this is pastel on canvas
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