Alfred Stevens (Belgian 1823-1906) La Parisienne 92.5 x 60 cm. (36 1/2 x 23 1/2 in.)

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Lot 13
Alfred Stevens
(Belgian 1823-1906)
La Parisienne 92.5 x 60 cm. (36 1/2 x 23 1/2 in.)

Sold for £ 33,460 (US$ 40,622) inc. premium
Alfred Stevens (Belgian 1823-1906)
La Parisienne
signed and dated 'A Stevens 1880' (lower left)
oil on canvas
92.5 x 60 cm. (36 1/2 x 23 1/2 in.)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Executed in 1880 for Petit;
    Beaux Arts Gallery, London;
    Private collection;
    Thence by descent.

    Literature:
    L'Art et la mode, No.1, 1880.

    By 1880, when 'La Parisienne' was painted, Alfred Stevens had secured a well-established reputation in the French art market as a painter of Parisian bourgeois women. Over a period of 25 years – and for another 26 years, until his death – Stevens successfully invented himself as the creator and author of a genre he was able to define and depict with remarkable accuracy. The present painting offers a fine example of the technical degree of execution to which Stevens had brought this genre. Furthermore, the work reveals the painter’s reflective approach in portraying a beautiful woman in a distinctively moody setting. With the use of a square brush, Stevens builds up the background vegetation and path in an intricate interplay of patterns. It is against this muted tapestry of shaded tonalities that he sets off a most fashionable afternoon ‘promenader’.

    Alfred Stevens began his formal training in painting in his native town of Brussels, at the Academie Royale des Beaux-Arts, under Francois-Joseph Navez (1787-1869). 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 (1780-1867). Both teachers had been pupils of Jacques-Louis David (1788-1856). 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. Contemporary collectors, including the Vanderbilts from America, commissioned paintings from the artist.
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