ALEXANDER POPE (1849-1924)
ALEXANDER POPE (1849-1924)
ALEXANDER POPE (1849-1924)
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ALEXANDER POPE (1849-1924)
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ALEXANDER POPE (1849-1924)

Trophies of the Hunt

Details
ALEXANDER POPE (1849-1924)
Trophies of the Hunt
signed 'Alexander Pope.' (on the card at lower right)—signed again and dated 'Painted by/Alexander Pope/Boston-/Feb. 1899.' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
38 x 43 in. (96.5 x 109.2 cm.)
Painted in 1899.
Provenance
Sanborn Family, Winchester, Massachusetts.
Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc., New York, 1981.
The Manoogian Collection, Taylor, Michigan, acquired from the above, 1981.
Sotheby's, New York, 18 May 2016, lot 31, sold by the above.
Acquired by the late owner from the above.
Exhibited
Vero Beach, Florida, Vero Beach Museum of Art, The Reality of Things: Trompe L’Oeil in America, January-May 2007, p. 59.
Memphis, Tennessee, Dixon Gallery and Gardens; Omaha, Nebraska, Joslyn Art Museum; Shelburne, Vermont, Shelburne Museum; Fort Worth, Texas, The Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Wild Spaces, Open Seasons: Hunting and Fishing in American Art, October 23, 2016-January 7, 2018, pp. 73-74, 76, 177, no. 53, illustrated.

Brought to you by

Tylee Abbott
Tylee Abbott Vice President, Head of American Art

Lot Essay

Kory W. Rogers writes, "The risky business of hunting, for commerce or sport, offered great reward. For the commercial hunter, the outdoor life offered a livelihood. For the sportsman, taking a trophy provided a potent symbol of masculinity, mortality, and sentimentality. To the artist, the desires for a trophy painting lent new meaning to the traditional genre, the trompe l'oeil, or 'fool the eye.' Long prized for their artifice and ability to test the limits of perception, trompe l'oeil still lifes were placed in the service of memorializing the hunt for a growing class of sportsmen." (Wild Spaces, Open Seasons: Hunting and Fishing in American Art, exhibition catalogue, Fort Worth, Texas, 2017, p. 73)

Rogers continues, "Alexander Pope's 1899 Trophies of the Hunt provides a master class in trompe l'oeil. According to contemporaneous newspaper reports, the painting fooled gullible viewers to 'abandon the etiquette of passive spectatorship.' Some were so convinced by the illusion that they reached out to 'make off with' the dead game.' Pope's trophy painting follows a simple formula established in the 1880s by the Irish American painter William Michael Harnett, whose realistic works were in turn inspired by the sumptuous interior setting of artist David Neal's 1870 masterpiece After the Hunt...Like Harnett, Pope's primary concern was to create an illusion that would captivate and entertain spectators, as evidenced by his inclusion of a visual pun, using the deer's antlers as a gun rack. Amused onlookers would have understood the implied masculine subtext conveyed by Pope's artfully composed assemblage of hunting paraphernalia juxtaposed with the animals they killed, the tools and spoils of a virile provider." (Wild Spaces, Open Seasons: Hunting and Fishing in American Art, pp. 73, 76)

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