Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    ABBOTT HANDERSON THAYER (American, 1849-1921)
    Preliminary Study for "A Virgin," circa 1891
    Oil on canvas
    13 x 9-1/2 inches (33.0 x 24.1 cm)

    FROM THE JEAN AND GRAHAM DEVOE WILLIFORD CHARITABLE TRUST

    PROVENANCE:
    The artist;
    Edith Henderson, Dublin, New Hampshire and Cambridge, Massachusetts, gift from the above (no relation to the artist, but rather a neighbor of his who served as a model for one of the girls in the present work (note verso));
    Alfred J. Walker Fine Art, Boston, Massachusetts.

    EXHIBITED:
    Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas, "The Cornish Art Colony: Giants of America's Gilded Age," January 16-April 17, 2011, no. 23.

    This painting is a preliminary study for Thayer's celebrated work, A Virgin (collection of the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), purchased by noted collector and founder of the Freer Gallery of Art, Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919). Freer originally hung A Virgin above the landing in the stair hall of his Detroit residence where, like the Winged Victory in the Louvre, it could be appreciated from various vantage points. Freer acknowledged Thayer's visual allusion in 1910 by ordering a plaster cast of the Winged Victory to be displayed beside A Virgin in an exhibition at the University of Michigan, along with other important works on Asian and American art from his collection.

    Thayer produced this study, and conceived the idea for A Virgin, shortly following the death of his wife in 1891. The work is a group portrait of his children Gladys, Mary and Gerald. He originally envisioned the central figure, Mary (who temporarily took charge of Gladys and Gerald), as Flora, the Greek goddess of flowers, but as the work progressed he decided to make her a Greek "Victory" figure instead, with clouds billowing behind her like wings. This lot retains its original custom-made frame by William F. Scott, signed and dated verso: W. F. Scott 8-14-89.


    Condition Report*: The work is wax lined. There is frame abrasion to the paint surface along the extreme edges.  There appears to be mild surface cracking, predominantly in the lower half of the work.  There appears to be evidence of inpainting in the lower left corner, with spots of inpainting along the upper and left margins. There appear to be spots of inpainting in the background around the head of the central figure.  There appears to be an approximate two-inch vertical line of inpainting above the head of the figure at left. 
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2015
    2nd Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,438

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    This item cannot be shipped using standard methods. Please contact us for more information. Sales Tax information

    Important information concerning Sales Tax and Resale Certificates. Learn More

    Terms and Conditions  |  Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments |  Glossary of Terms

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2019 October 22 Prints & Multiples Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    We are very glad that we selected Heritage - The whole Heritage Team was a pleasure to do business with!
    Richard Ash,
    Digby, Canada
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2014 November 21 Tiffany, Lalique & Art Glass Signature Auction
    2014 November 21 Tiffany, Lalique & Art Glass Signature Auction
    REALIZED $1,441,296
    2014 November 17 American Art Signature Auction
    2014 November 17 American Art Signature Auction
    REALIZED $6,712,638
    2014 November 14 American Indian Art , Pre-Columbian, & Tribal Art Signature Auction
    2014 Nov 14 American Indian Art, Pre-Columbian & Tribal Art Auction
    REALIZED $441,524
    2014 November 8 Modern & Contemporary Art Signature Auction
    2014 November 8 Modern & Contemporary Art Signature Auction
    REALIZED $5,683,719
    2014 November 6 Silver & Vertu Signature Auction
    2014 November 6 Silver & Vertu Signature Auction
    REALIZED $439,980
    2014 October 18 The Belo Collection of Texas Art Signature Auction
    2014 October 18 The Belo Collection of Texas Art Signature Auction
    REALIZED $624,835
    2014 October 16 Photographs Signature Auction
    2014 October 16 Photographs Signature Auction
    REALIZED $824,108
    2014 September 28 Nature & Science Signature Auction
    2014 September 28 Nature & Science Signature Auction
    REALIZED $1,089,341
    2014 Sept 13-14 Gentleman Collector Signature Estate Auction
    2014 Sept 13-14 Gentleman Collector Signature Estate Auction
    REALIZED $1,725,292
    2019 April 23 Illustration Art Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 April 23 Illustration Art Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $2,477,033