Edward Emerson Simmons (American, 1852-1931) 'Sarah and Marjory'

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Lot 87A
Edward Emerson Simmons
(American, 1852-1931)
'Sarah and Marjory'

Sold for £ 46,250 (US$ 57,991) inc. premium
Edward Emerson Simmons (American, 1852-1931)
'Sarah and Marjory'
signed and dated 'Edward E. Simmons/1890.' (lower left); signed, inscribed and dated 'Sarah + Marjory./St. Ives Cornwall./June 1890./Edward E. Simmons.' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
65.5 x 50cm (25 13/16 x 19 11/16in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Private collection, Cambridge, Massachusetts (possibly acquired directly from the artist).
    Thence by family descent.

    Edward Emerson Simmons was born in 1852 in Concord, Massachusetts. After completing a Bachelor of Arts at Harvard he ventured to Europe, where he studied at the prestigious Académie Julian. He excelled under the tutelage of Lefebvre and Boulanger, winning an award at the Académie in 1881 and receiving an honourable mention for his 1882 entry at the Paris Salon.

    Simmons spent time in Concarneau, an idyllic location for pleinairists looking to explore maritime subjects and peasant life genre scenes. He was particularly inspired by Jules Bastien-Lepage, who explored themes of young working class subjects in local settings. In Concarneau he became acquainted with artists who had similar interests and he soon visited St. Ives in Cornwall.

    Simmons, captivated by the colony on the northern coast of England, returned in the summer of 1886 to settle with his wife Vesta Simmons (née Schallenberger). Encouraging a number of other American artists to join them, he cemented St. Ives' status as an international melting-pot of artists.

    The present lot was executed in June of 1890 in St. Ives. Simmons has depicted an intimate scene: two young girls - Mary and Marjory - are absorbed in reading an illustrated book. Their bowed heads and inward gaze isolates them from the viewer as they enjoy a moment of closeness and tenderness. A plain background and the simple dress of the girls implies that the sitters are of modest means, possibly fishermen's daughters.

    The present lot was in the possession of a family acquainted with the artist in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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