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Alfred Stevens (Brussels 1823-1906 Paris)
La Rêverie
signed and dated 'A Stevens./87'
47¾ x 30 5/8 in.

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Lot Essay

This pastel is a variation of Stevens' 1884 painting, Soir d'été sur la terrasse (C. Lefebvre, Alfred Stevens 1823-1906, Paris, 2006, p. 164, fig. 192). The painting includes a dog on the bench next to the letters on the bench at the right, and the woman is wearing a sheer shawl wrapped around her shoulders and holding a fan in her left hand. The setting also shows similarity to the one in Stevens' 1891 painting Frère et soeur in the Musée d'Orsay (op. cit., fig. 63). Both have a rocky coastline curving around the sea in the right side of the composition. The painting was done at the seaside resort of Honfleur and this may also provide the setting for the present lot.
In 1887 when this pastel was executed Stevens was at the height of his powers as an artist. Two of his pastel portraits exhibited at the Exposition Triennale des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles were lauded in a Belgian paper, L'Etoile Belge as a 'revelation'. He also began his most important project that year, Le panorama du siècle with Henri Gervex.

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