Sir Alfred East, R.A., R.I., P.R.B.A., R.P.E. (1844-1913)
All sold and unsold lots marked with a filled squa… Read more
Sir Alfred East, R.A., R.I., P.R.B.A., R.P.E. (1844-1913)

An idyll of Como

Sir Alfred East, R.A., R.I., P.R.B.A., R.P.E. (1844-1913)
An idyll of Como
signed 'ALFRED/EAST' (lower left) and further signed, inscribed and dated '#64/Alfred East/A Gay Party at Como/1902/40 x 60' (on a label attached to the reverse)
oil on canvas
40 x 60 in. (101.6 x 152.5 cm.)
E.B. Marriage, Esq.
Mr Ira Nelson Morris.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, New York, 29 November 2004, lot 99.
M.H. Spielmann ed., Royal Academy Pictures 1902, London, 1902, p. 135 (illus.).
F. Rinder, ‘The Royal Academy Exhibition of 1902’, The Art Journal, London, 1902, p. 214.
Anon., ‘Current Art: The Royal Academy Exhibition’, The Magazine of Art, London, 1902, p. 398.
A. East, The Art of Landscape Painting in Oil Colour, Philadelphia, 1907, opp. p. 68.
P. Johnson and K. McConkey, Alfred East, Lyrical Landscape Painter, London, 2009, pp. 52-3, 57, fig. 34.
London, Royal Academy, 1902, no. 696.
Special notice

All sold and unsold lots marked with a filled square in the catalogue that are not cleared from Christie’s by 5:00 pm on the day of the sale, and all sold and unsold lots not cleared from Christie’s by 5:00 pm on the fifth Friday following the sale, will be removed to the warehouse of ‘Cadogan Tate’. Please note that there will be no charge to purchasers who collect their lots within two weeks of this sale.

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Lot Essay

An Idyll of Como inaugurates a series of classic fêtes champêtres in East’s oeuvre. These include Landscape with Figures c. 1905 (Northampton Museums) and A Sicilian Wedding, 1909 (Private Collection). Frank Rinder praised this new departure in The Art Journal, as being ‘true to the sentiment of the title’. ‘A great thundercloud forms above and partially veils the dream-blue lake’, he noted, and comparing East’s peasant folk to the Watteau’s commedia courtiers, he noted ‘a harmony of colour and … atmosphere decoratively interpreted’. These words were echoed in The Magazine of Art which found East’s Idyll, ‘more than ordinarily happy in [its] combination of decorative feeling, poetic suggestion and graceful reality’.

Ira Nelson Morris, the picture’s second owner, was an American diplomat. In 1913 he was appointed the US Special Commissioner in Italy and we can possibly conclude that he purchased the Como painting because of his special links with Italy. It is also possible that the picture once hung in the US Embassy in Rome.

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