Alfred Stevens (Belgian, 1823-1906)
Alfred Stevens (Belgian, 1823-1906)
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Alfred Stevens (Belgian, 1823-1906)

La toilette de bal

Alfred Stevens (Belgian, 1823-1906)
La toilette de bal
signed 'AStevens.' (center left)
oil on panel
22 ¼ x 15 ½ in. (56.5 x 39.4 cm.)
with Galerie Ernest Le Roy, Brussels.
with Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, acquired directly from the above.
Jeanne Melet-Lanvin (1867-1946), Paris, possibly acquired directly from the above, by 1924.
Marie-Blanche, comtesse de Polignac, née Marguérite di Pietro, her daughter, by descent, 1946.
(probably) By descent to her heirs.
with Galerie Brame & Lorenceau, Paris, possibly acquired directly from the above, 1981.
with H. Shickman Gallery, New York, acquired directly from the above, 13 March 1981.
Charles and Jayne Wrightsman, New York, acquired directly from the above, 1981.
J.-L. Vaudoyer, 'Ricard et Stevens à propos d'un double centenaire,' La Renaissance de l'art français et des industries de luxe, no. 1, January 1924, p. 93, illustrated.
F. Boucher, Alfred Stevens, Paris, 1930, p. 64, pl. 59, illustrated.
G. Van Zype, Les frères Stevens, Brussels, 1936, p. 106, no. 166.
E. Schlumberger, 'Au 16 rue Barbet-de-Jouy avec Jeanne Lanvin,' Connaissance des arts, no. 138, August 1963, pp. 64-65, fig. 5, illustrated in situ.
P. Mitchell, Alfred Émile Léopold Stevens, 1823-1906, exh. cat., London, 1973, p. 29, under no. 11.
R. Rousseau and A. Grenez, Rétrospective Alfred Stevens, exh. cat., Charleroi, 1975, under no. 18.
B. Scott, 'Letter from Paris: The Biennale des Antiquaires,' Apollo, no. 112, September 1980, p. 202, fig. 7, illustrated, as Woman wearing an Indian shawl in a studio.
P. Mitchell, Alfred Stevens, 1823-1906, exh. cat., New York, 2004, p. 55, under no. 19, fig. 37, illustrated, as Femme au châle des Indes dans un atelier.
E. Fahy ed., The Wrightsman Pictures, New York, 2005, pp. 394-395, no. 111, illustrated, as Femme au châle des Indes dans un atelier.
C. Lefebvre, Alfred Stevens, 1823-1906, Paris, 2006, pp. 89, 91, no. 95, illustrated.
D. Derrey-Capon, Alfred Stevens (1823-1906) et le panorama de l'Histoire du siècle, exh. cat., Brussels and Amsterdam, 2009-2010, p. 103, illustrated in situ.
(probably) Brussels, Muse´e Moderne, L'œuvre de Alfred Stevens, April-May 1907, also Antwerp, Muse´e des Beaux-Arts, May-June 1907.
Paris, Galerie de la Renaissance, Portraits et figures de femmes: Ingres à Picasso, 1-30 June 1928, p. 25, no. 166, as Femme dans un atelier.
Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Scènes et figures parisiennes, 1943, no. 206, as Femme au châle Persan.

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Lot Essay

Although the work of Alfred Stevens cannot be neatly categorized as either Impressionist or Academic, he was definitely a Modernist, and his paintings of women are as modern in conception as anything painted by his many friends in the Impressionist movement - among them Degas, Whistler and Manet. He 'applied the brilliant resources of his superior art to the representation of the modern woman' (V. Steele, Paris Fashion, New York, 1988, p. 179).
The costumes worn by the women in Stevens's art accurately document the fashions of the Second Empire but they are also a celebration of the sheer joy of painting by an artist who, with a bravura almost unmatched at his time, transformed the color and textures of costume into paint on canvas. The present work, sometimes called Femme au châle Persan, is notable for its inclusion of the voluminous, intricately rendered paisley shawl worn by the sitter. These costly garments became popular after Napoléon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798 and remained popular in Europe throughout the 19th century. In addition to its distinguished provenance as part of the Wrightsman collection, the present painting also once fittingly belonged to the celebrated couturière Jeanne Lanvin.
We are grateful to the Comité Alfred Stevens for confirming the authenticity of this work on the basis of digital images. The work is accompanied by a certificate from the Comité Alfred Stevens and will be included in their forthcoming Alfred Stevens catalogue raisonné, now in preparation.

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