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Robert Frederick Blum (1857-1903)
Property from The Westervelt Company, formerly The Gulf States Paper Corporation
Robert Frederick Blum (1857-1903)

The Picture Book

Details
Robert Frederick Blum (1857-1903) The Picture Book oil on panel 6¾ x 10½ in. (17.1 x 26.7 cm.) Painted circa 1890.
Provenance
George Ablah Collection, Kansas.
[With]Berry-Hill Galleries, Inc., New York.
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 1985.
Literature
F.D. Hill, "The Warner Collection of Gulf States Paper Corporation," Antiques Magazine, November 1986, p. 1043, pl. xii, illustrated.
D.P. Curry, et al., American Dreams: Paintings and Decorative Arts from the Warner Collection, exhibition catalogue, Richmond, Virginia, 1997, pp. 64-65, illustrated.
T. Armstrong, ed., An American Odyssey: The Warner Collection of American Fine and Decorative Arts, Gulf States Paper Corporation, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, New York, 2001, pp. 132-33, illustrated.
Exhibited
Richmond, Virginia, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, American Dreams: Paintings and Decorative Arts from the Warner Collection, September 20, 1997-January 25, 1998.

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Lot Essay

"Taste for the art of the Far East arrived in the United States in the wake of Commodore Matthew Perry's 1850s visit to Japan and the published reports of his journeys. Hokusai prints began circulating in exhibitions in the 1860s, the decade in which the Japanese embassy opened in New York...Robert Blum visited the Japanese Pavilion at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition in 1876, and the interest in Japanese art kindled there eventually resulted in a two-and-a-half-year stay in Japan starting in 1889. Scribner's commissioned Blum to create pastels and drawings for Japonica by Sir Edwin Arnold, which appeared in serialized form in the magazine. His small oil painting The Picture Book, circa 1890, created during his Japanese sojourn, shows a kimono-clad Japanese girl lying down on the floor with head in hands, absorbed in contemplation of an illustrated book. In much of the same way, Japanese prints held the rapt attention of such American artists as Blum, John La Farge, and Whistler." (E.M. Foshay, "The Cosmopolitan Perspective" in An American Odyssey: The Warner Collection of American Fine and Decorative Arts, Gulf States Paper Corporation, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, New York, 2001, p. 132)

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