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    Description

    FREDERICK WARREN FREER (American, 1849-1908)
    The Old Veil, circa 1886-88
    Oil on canvas
    22 x 15-3/4 inches (55.9 x 40.0 cm)
    Signed lower left: Frederick W. Freer
    Signed, titled and inscribed on label verso: "The Old Veil" Fishel Adler & Schwartz / Frederick W. Freer / New York

    PROVENANCE:
    Miss Isabel Edgar, New York, 1888;
    The Artists' Fund Society, New York, March 6, 1889;
    Charles Wilson, purchased from the above for $250;
    Private collection, New Jersey;
    Estate of the above;
    Private collection, New York.

    EXHIBITED:
    Masonic Hall, "Sixth Annual Exhibit of the Indianapolis Art Association," Indianapolis, Indiana, April 23-May 19, 1888;
    366 Fifth Avenue, New York, "Artists' Fund Society Exhibition," March 6, 1889.

    LITERATURE:
    L.F. H., "Art Exhibit," The Eastern Star, vol. I, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1888, p. 188;
    "Many Pictures Sold: The Artists' Fund Society Clears about $8,000," The New York Times, March 7, 1889.

    The Old Veil is an exceptional example of the "fair women" paintings which established Chicago-born Frederick W. Freer's artistic reputation during the last two decades of the nineteenth century. A subtle work that defies easy categorization, The Old Veil is part portrait, part character study, and part genre scene with its understated narrative, as well as a ravishing interior view complete with the dazzlingly display of textures Freer relished painting.

    The Old Veil dates from a key period in Freer's career-circa 1886-88-following an important European trip he had made with American Impressionist William Merritt Chase and H. Siddons Mowbray. After this excursion, which seems to have included a visit to Antwerp, Spain and Holland with Chase, Freer began to shed his darker Munich Academy manner in favor of the lighter palette and flickering brushwork that characterizes The Old Veil. Also in 1886, Freer married Margaret Cecilia Keenan of New York, herself a painter and an artists' model, who became the subject of his most significant paintings for the remainder of his life. In this work, doubtless painted around the time of their wedding, Freer portrays Keenan with a blend of romanticism and realism: her reflection captures something thoughtful, beyond mere vanity.

    From his early days as an art student in Munich, Freer seems to have been particularly fascinated with painting objects that possess transparency or have reflective surfaces, such as veils, mirrors, windows, and clear glass vases full of flowers. Such devices played especially well against the dark backgrounds favored by the Munich realists. Interestingly, in The Old Veil, despite the brighter Beaux-Arts palette, Freer continues his trademark fascination with such surfaces in particularly rich combination: the transparency of the veil, the delicate openwork of the lace, the mirror, and the glance off the embroidered silks worn by the bride.

    Interestingly, an early owner of this painting, Miss Isabel R. Edgar of New York, was, like Freer, a student of William Merritt Chase. During the later 1880s and 1890s, Edgar served as director of the Indianapolis Art Association, where she exhibited not only The Old Veil from her own collection, but also works on loan from contemporary American painters of her acquaintance in New York, in Indianapolis. As one writer noted of her goals in bringing current New York art trends to Indiana: "With the taste of an advanced art student she has been able to select pictures from the studios of New York artists, which have qualities of art education, so to speak. I mean that the paintings she obtains from these artists are not only of interest from their subjects, but have positive qualities of technic [sic] which show the visitors at these exhibitions exactly how our artists are painting today" (Ernest Knaufft, "Art in Indianapolis," The Art Amateur, vol. 23, no. 2, July 1890, p. 24).





    Condition Report*: Wax-lined canvas; faint craquelure throughout; stable surface; under UV exam, there appears to be minor inpainting along all four extreme edges to address frame wear, as well as an approx. 2-inches horizontal line along the far right top edge and a quarter-size spot in the lower left corner, and scattered crack-fill inpainting throughout. Framed Dimensions 34 X 28 Inches
    *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
    November, 2014
    17th Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,743

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