Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Albert Beck Wenzell (American, 1864-1917)
    Flirtation and Heartbreak, Collier's magazine interior illustration (a pair), March 26, 1910
    Oil on canvas laid on board, each
    19-1/8 x 29-3/4 inches (48.6 x 75.6 cm) (Flirtation, oval sight)
    17-3/4 x 30-3/4 inches (45.1 x 78.1 cm) (Heartbreak, oval sight)
    Heartbreak signed lower center: AB Wenzell

    Maxwell Galleries, San Francisco, California;
    Grapefruit Moon Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota;
    Private collection, Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Maxwell Galleries, San Francisco, California, "The Age of Elegance: Paintings, Drawings, and Pastels by Albert Beck Wenzell," February 10-28, 1967.

    Maxwell Galleries, The Age of Elegance: Paintings, Drawings, and Pastels by Albert Beck Wenzell, exhibition catalogue, San Francisco, California, 1967, p. 5, Heartbreak as Allegorical Scene, illustrated.

    This pair of works is unusual within Wenzell's oeuvre, both for its classical mythological subject and explicit eroticism. These two paintings were clearly conceived as a matched set; presenting a "before" and "after" narrative. The first panel was published as a vignette in the March 26th, 1910 issue of Collier's magazine, however, the second work was never published. The pair was displayed in Wenzell's 1967 Maxwell Gallery exhibition, "The Age of Elegance."

    Although the two-picture narrative form was used by British satirists like Thomas Rowlandson and the American political cartoonist Thomas Nast, Wenzell's intent here seems closest in spirit to the Clothed and Naked "Maja" pictures of Francisco Goya, where the first panel is intended for public viewing and the second for private consumption only. The second panel reveals that an erotic encounter has indeed taken place between the tree Nymph and the Satyr; and it is unclear whether she is just still asleep as he steals away or dead. For in classical mythology, intimacy with a god usually proved fatal; and although a tree nymph lived a long time (as long as her tree did) she was in fact still mortal.

    A copy of the Maxwell Galleries exhibition catalog and the tear sheet from Collier's magazine accompanies this lot.

    Condition Report*: Mat is adhered to the board, hindering further inspection of the edges. Under UV exam, there does not appear to be inpaint to either. Discolored varnish. Flirtation: spots of scattered surface soiling, most apparent above the male figure (approx. 1 1/2 x 1/2), in the legs of the male figure, and on the bottom edge. Heartbreak: 1 inch scuff left of the female figure.
    Framed Dimensions 25.5 X 36.5 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. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2021
    7th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 723

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Sold on May 7, 2021 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    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
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 21 days left to consign to the 2021 October 19 Prints & Multiples Signature Auction !

    Learn about consigning with us

    I have to say I am very pleased with the final results and Heritage Auctions service.
    Philip M.,
    Truckee, CA
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search