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    SARAH PAXTON BALL DODSON (American, 1847-1906)
    The Morning Stars (Les Etoiles du Matin), 1887
    Oil on fine linen canvas
    23 x 30 inches (58.4 x 76.2 cm)
    Signed and dated verso: S. P. Dodson, 18+87; monogrammed lower right corner: SD
    Canvas suppliers' stamp verso: TROIS GROS FRERES FABRICANTS / PARIS


    James Dunbar Dodson, cousin of the artist, Washington, D. C.

    Paris Salon, 1888;
    Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1889;
    Pennsylvania Museum of Art, Memorial Hall, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, PA (label verso; the painting was on long-term loan there beginning 1926).

    Arthur Edwin Bye, "Three Paintings by Sarah Ball Dodson," Bulletin of the Pennsylvania Museum, vol. 21, no. 102 (April 1926), pp. 135-6.

    The extensive array of exhibition labels on the reverse of this painting are a testament to its importance in the oeuvre of painter Sarah Paxton Ball Dodson. Despite her long residence abroad in Paris and in England, Dodson never lost her allegiance to Philadelphia. She was born at her family's ancestral manor of Richmond Hall, February 22, 1847, the daughter of Richard Dodson and Harriott, the only daughter of Joseph Ball of Richmond Hall, and died January 6, 1906 in Brighton, England. She was a descendant of William Ball, the noted Philadelphia silversmith. Following initial training in Philadelphia, Dodson went to Paris in 1873 where she studied with Lefebvre and Moutet de Monvel. In 1877 she exhibited for the first time at the Paris Salon, from which point she became acknowledged by connoisseurs as an accomplished painter, gifted with refined taste and rare sensitivity. Suffering from ill health most of her life, she was unable to enter actively in the struggle for fame or popularity, and this struggle can occasionally be felt in her choice of subject matter. She frequently painted religious and mythological subjects which explore the theme of choosing one's own path rather than following one's family's expectations.

    This painting bears a label on the back of the stretcher containing what appears to be a description of Dodson's work. Whether it applies specifically to this painting is unknown, although it seems a very good match with the imagery of The Morning Stars: The English Channel at Brighton, Sussex "...the ocean's dim-lit calm before dawn, while above the sky is filled with many figures."

    Condition Report*: Original unlined canvas. Craquelure commensurate age. Paint film in very good stable condition. Re-varnished canvas with minor surface grime; 1-inch vertical tear and abrasion (new) in lower right quadrant beneath far right figure; faint stretcher creasing along top and left edges.  Under UV examination, the central figural composition is virtually untouched; in-painting along top, right and left edges (consistent with touch up for frame abrasion); 5 dots of in-painting in background of upper left quadrant; 2 dots in white robe of far left figure; 1-inch passage in the ocean, lower left corner, and several additional dots in the ocean; several strokes near the signature (outside of the monogram).  The circular pattern of staining verso appears to be varnish that has seeped through the thin canvas, which has been stretched tautly.  There is no evidence of concentric patterns of craquelure in the paint film coinciding with that area on front of the painting.  Framed Dimensions 33.5 X 26.5 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. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2012
    15th Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,437

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