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    Description

    Louise Jopling (British, 1843-1933)
    A modern Cinderella, 1875
    Oil on canvas
    36 x 27-7/8 inches (91.4 x 70.8 cm)
    Signed and dated lower left: Louise Jopling / 1875

    PROVENANCE:
    Private collection, Pennsylvania, acquired as a wedding gift, 1922;
    By descent through the family to the present owner.

    EXHIBITED:
    Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1878.

    LITERATURE:
    Clara Erskine Clement and Laurence Hutton, Artists of the 19th Century and their Works, Boston and New York, 1894, Vol II, p. 17.

    Louise Jopling was a leading female artist in London in the late 19th century, and travelled in the most advanced and distinguished artistic circles of her time. Born in Manchester, England, Jopling studied in Paris under the romantic portrait and landscape painter Charles Chaplin, who was unusual in only accepting female students. The celebrated American impressionist Mary Cassatt was also one of his pupils. Under Chaplin's tutelage, Jopling was able to study anatomy from nude models-something that would have been impossible for women artists in Victorian England.

    The 19th century art world was still a male preserve, so Jopling did suffer from gender discrimination. In 1883 she sought a portrait commission for 150 guineas, but lost it to Sir John Everett Millais, who was paid 1000 guineas for the same project. Nonetheless, Jopling was a versatile artist and exhibited her work alongside male professional artists to considerable critical acclaim. Her paintings were exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Philadelphia Exposition in 1876, and The Palace of Fine Arts and The Woman's Building at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois.

    She joined the Society of Women Artists in 1880 and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in 1891; she became the first woman to be admitted to the Royal Society of British Artists in 1901. And her portrait was later painted by John Everett Millais and James McNeill Whistler, another figure noted for his preference for training women artists. In fact, it was at a party at the Joplings' house in 1883 that Whistler had a now- famous exchange with Oscar Wilde. In response to a witticism of Whistler's, Wilde remarked, "How I wish I had said that." Whistler replied, "You will, Oscar, you will."

    Jopling exhibited A modern Cinderella at the third Paris World Fair in 1878. In this very compelling image, we see Jopling reviving the familiar tale of Cinderella-unjust oppression followed somehow (through hard work or happy accident?) by triumphant reward. In the middle foreground lies the requisite shoe that proves the figure's identity; while she hangs up her gown the clock, reflected in the mirror, strikes 12. In the right foreground lie her black boots and day clothes draped on the chair.

    Despite the scattered narrative fragments throughout the painting, we still cannot read its meaning with any real certainty. Also reflected in the mirror is the artist's easel, suggesting this might be the artist's studio. Did Jopling cast herself as Cinderella in this constructed scene? Is she the artist and the model? Might this be a self-portrait, depicting herself in the aesthetic dress of the Pre-Raphaelites? Is she alluding to a feeling of diminished success as a female artist, removing, as it were, the more costly frock? In the end, Jopling challenges the viewer, who has just entered her room, to become the arbiter of the unfolding and ambiguous narrative for which there is no single interpretation.




    Condition Report*: Scattered areas of inpaint to the figures right half and the pink dress; minor craquelure to the white pigments; minor frame wear around the edges of the canvas.
    *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
    June, 2019
    7th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
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