John MacAllan Swan, R.A. (1847-1910)
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John MacAllan Swan, R.A. (1847-1910)

The Piping Fisher Boy

John MacAllan Swan, R.A. (1847-1910)
The Piping Fisher Boy
signed 'John M Swan' (lower right)
oil on panel
12 3/8 x 16½ in. (31.4 x 41.9 cm.)
Humphrey Roberts, by 1897.
Edwin Tate, by 1911.
with The Fine Art Society, London, from whom acquired by the present owner in 1977.
Art Journal, 1894, p. 22.
London, Royal Academy, 1890, no. 465.
London, Guildhall, Loan Exhibition, 1897, lent by Humphrey Roberts.
Dublin, Loan Exhibition, 1899, lent by Humphrey Roberts.
London, Royal Academy, Winter 1911, no. 2, lent by Edwin Tate.
All for Love, 1994, no. 53.
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Lot Essay

Though small in scale this picture was held to be one of Swan's finest works and was much exhibited during his lifetime. Swan is best remembered for his superb depictions of lions, leopards and tigers, executed in rapid pen and wash drawings, pastels, oils and bronze. Having trained at the Lambeth School of Art and the RA Schools, he was introduced in Paris by Gérôme to the sculptor Frémiet. Much of his sculpture was also influenced by the great animalier sculptor, Barye.

The present work dates from the most lauded period of Swan's career: The Prodigal Son was bought by the Chantrey Bequest in 1889 and in 1894 he was elected ARA, achieving full membership of the Academy in 1905. He also exhibited at the Grosvenor and New Galleries. Another spectacular example of a male nude beguiling members of the animal kingdom can be found in Orpheus (1896; Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight).


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