Sarah Paxton Ball Dodson (American, 1847-1906) Butterflies

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Lot 51
Sarah Paxton Ball Dodson
(American, 1847-1906)
Butterflies

Sold for £ 70,000 (US$ 90,518) inc. premium
Sarah Paxton Ball Dodson (American, 1847-1906)
Butterflies
signed and dated 'Sarah Ball Dodson/1891' (lower left)
oil on canvas
57 x 42.5cm (22 7/16 x 16 3/4in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Sale, Sotheby's London, 5 November 1974, lot 12
    Private collection, UK

    Sarah Paxton Ball Dodson was one of the most technically accomplished artists of her generation. Her mastery of draughtsmanship and oil technique, combined with her ambitious sense of composition and eye for detail led to an impressive career that was tragically cut short and was much overlooked for much of the 20th century.

    She was born and raised in Philadelphia. Her father was an engraver, so her artistic grounding began from early childhood. Her formal training however did not commence until after the death of her father in 1872 when she enrolled as a private pupil of Christian Schussele at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She was one of many American women who then went on to Paris to study, joining the atelier of Évariste Vital Luminais for three years from 1873.

    In 1885 she returned to the United States and widened her repertoire to include plein-air landscapes before returning to France. She adopted a poetic style that reflected many influences: the Pre-Raphaelites, especially in her choice of overtly religious subject matter, French Symbolism and also fairy painting which was at its height in Britain in this period. The influence of symbolism and her love of iconography is evident in the present lot painted in 1891, the year she moved to Brighton, England. It's Art Nouveau details and choice of butterfly motif make it the perfect evocation of the age.

Saleroom notices

  • The correct title of this painting is 'Honey of Hymettus' and it was exhibited in The Fine Arts Palace, at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago 1893; Also: American Art Galleries, Madison Square South, New York 'Exhibition of paintings by Sarah Ball Dodson', December 16-29, 1911, No. 82.
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