Portrait of Kathleen Cowan
signed and dated 'J.W. Alexander-/Aug 1900' (lower right)
oil on canvas
60 x 40 in. (152.4 x 101.6 cm.)
Painted in 1900
The artist.
John James Cowan, Edinburgh, Scotland, commissioned from the above, 1900.
Elizabeth Fraser Peters, daughter of the sitter.
Christopher Home Cowan, grandson of John James Cowan, circa 1936.
Phillips, Edinburgh, Scotland, 7 December 1984, lot 33.
Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc., and David Nisinson, New York, acquired from the above.
Peter Terian, New York, acquired from the above.
David Nisinson, New York.
Acquired by Ann and Gordon Getty from the above, 2003.
Archives of American Art, John White Alexander papers, box 2, folder 11, frame 10.
Department of Fine Arts, Carnegie Institute, Catalogue of Paintings: John White Alexander, Memorial Exhibition, exhibition catalogue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, March 1916, p. 45.
J.J. Cowan, From 1846 to 1932, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1933, pp. 156-57.
S.J. Moore, John White Alexander (1856-1915): In Search of the Decorative, Ph.D. dissertation, City University of New York, 1992, p. 253.
M.A. Goley, John White Alexander: An American Artist in the Gilded Age, London, 2018, p. 111n130.
Further details
We are grateful to Mary Anne Goley, author of the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the work of John White Alexander, for her assistance with cataloging this lot.

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Lot Essay

The present work was commissioned by the sitter's father, John James Cowan, a wealthy paper manufacturer and patron of artists such as James McNeill Whistler. His daughter Kathleen Cowan founded the music academy known today as the International Cello Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland. The artist spent about two months in Scotland for the commission, executing the present work as well as portraits of at least six other Cowan family members, several of which were also proponents of music education.

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