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    EDWARD AUGUST BELL (American, 1862-1953)
    Portrait of a Woman, 1883
    Oil on canvas
    39-1/2 x 24-1/2 inches (100.3 x 62.2 cm)
    Signed, dated and inscribed lower left: E.A. Bell June 1883 Munchen


    Collection of the painter, William Forsyth (1854-1935);
    By descent to his daughter, Constance Forsyth;
    Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York;
    William A. Coles, Ann Arbor, Michigan, purchased from the above March 7, 1980.

    Early in his career, New York-born painter Edward Bell developed a style that was profoundly influenced by his training at the Royal Academy in Munich beginning in 1883, the same year he produced this lush, dark portrait full of evocative character. There, under the guidance of realist painter Ludwig von Loefftz, he made a careful study of the Dutch and Spanish masters--an influence apparent in this portrait of a woman. Her spotlit likeness emerges dramatically from a rich, inky background also favored by the American Frank Duveneck. While in Munich Bell participated in various important exhibitions including those at the Royal Academy. The Paris Exposition of 1889 was the first exhibition to bring him international attention. There he exhibited one of his most famous works - The Lady in Gray - which contained a radical device. In that work Bell incorporated as background a softly patterned scrim, a decorative convention he would use in many later paintings of women. In his later work as a painter of genre, interiors, dancers, musicians, and floral still lifes, the influence of Whistler and Chase is much more prevalent. The sitter for this portrait is the same one who appears in Bell's Portrait of a Young Woman (circa 1887), also painted in Munich, in the collection of the Indianapolis Museum of Art (inv. no. 71.218.9). The first owner of the present portrait was the American painter William Forsyth, a friend and classmate of Bell's in Munich.

    Condition Report*: This painting was wax lined by conservator, Bernard Rabin, of Newward, NJ in 10/71 (per stamp verso). UV examination  reveals that deeper craquelure has been judiciously inpainted, notably under the figure's left eye, across the bridge of her nose, and in her hair and around her head. There is scattered inpaint in the background, particularly in a column of scattered dots along the left side of the painting. Paint film is stable. Framed Dimensions 47 X 31 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
    May, 2014
    10th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 802

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