PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF ELIZABETH GREEN ROMANO

Mary Cassatt
1844 - 1926
CLARISSA, TURNED LEFT, WITH HER HAND TO HER EAR
Estimate
500,000700,000
JUMP TO LOT

PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF ELIZABETH GREEN ROMANO

Mary Cassatt
1844 - 1926
CLARISSA, TURNED LEFT, WITH HER HAND TO HER EAR
Estimate
500,000700,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

American Art

|
New York

Mary Cassatt
1844 - 1926
CLARISSA, TURNED LEFT, WITH HER HAND TO HER EAR
signed with the artist's initials M.C. (lower right)
pastel on paper
25 1/2 by 20 inches
(64.8 by 50.8 cm)
Executed circa 1890-93.
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Authentication

This work will be included in the Cassatt Committee's revision of Adelyn Dohme Breeskin's catalogue raisonné of the works of Mary Cassatt.

Provenance

Payson Thompson, New York (acquired from the artist and sold: American Art Association, New York, January, 12, 1928, cat. 86, illustrated as Study of a Seated Young Woman)
Durand-Ruel Galleries, New York (acquired from the above sale and sold: Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London, July 1, 1964, lot 66, illustrated as Jeune femme assise)
Stephen Hahn, New York (acquired from the above sale)
L.W. Frolich, New York, by 1966 (acquired from the above)
Ingrid Burns
Acquavella Galleries, New York (sold: Sotheby's, New York, November, 11, 1988, lot 7, illustrated in color)
Jeffrey Steiner, New York (acquired from the above sale)
Adelson Galleries, New York 
Bentley Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 2003

Exhibited

Chicago, Illinois, The Art Institute of Chicago, Memorial Collection of the Works of Mary Cassatt, December 1926-January 1927, no. 37 (as Young Woman)
New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Exhibition of Pastels by Mary Cassatt, October-November 1932, no. 5 (as Jeune fille assise)
New York, Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Painters in Pastel: A Survey of American Works, April-June 1987, no. 40, p. 47, illustrated in color

Literature

"Twenty-four Cassatts in Coming Sale-Payson T. Thompson Collection of American Painting Will Be Sold at the American Art Association in January," Art News, December 24, 1927, pp. 1-2, 7, illustrated p. 8 (as Study of a Seated Young Woman)
"Auction Reports-Thompson Paintings," Art News, January 21, 1928, p. 9
"Further Comments on Art Exhibitions: Studies by Mary Cassatt," New York Times, January 8, 1928, p. X13, illustrated (as Study of a Seated Young Woman)
Edward Alden Jewell, "Art in Review: Pastels by Mary Cassatt, American Expatriate for Many Years, Shown at Durand-Ruel Galleries", New York Times, November 2, 1932, p. 17 
Adelyn Dohme Breeskin, Mary Cassatt: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Oils, Pastels, Watercolors, and Drawings, Washington, D.C., 1970, no. 249, p. 118, illustrated

Catalogue Note

Sotheby’s is honored to offer Mary Cassatt’s, Clarissa, With Her Hand to Her Ear, Turned Left, from The Estate of Elizabeth Green Romano. A graduate of Andrews High School and Meredith College, Elizabeth “Libby” Green Romano played many roles as a teacher, principal, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and humanitarian. Her collection offers a remarkably diverse survey of late 19th and 20th century art characterized by unwavering quality and a special affinity for the female portrait.

Executed circa 1890 to 1893, Clarissa, With Her Hand to Her Ear, Turned Left, perfectly manifests Cassatt’s thoroughly modern approach to this traditional subject. Determined to forge a career as a painter, Cassatt arrived in Paris in early 1866. Although she initially studied with academic painters and regularly submitted her work to the Paris Salon, Cassatt struggled to conform to what she felt were the imitative conventions of official French art. She began to produce work that resolutely represented the world she knew, rather than attempting to emulate the masters of the past.

The modern spirit of her new work quickly garnered the attention of Edgar Degas, who in 1874 saw Cassatt’s submission to the Salon—a portrait titled Ida—and proclaimed, “It is true. There is someone who feels as I do.” (quoted in Mary Cassatt: An American Observer, 1984, n.p.) At Degas’ invitation, Cassatt was asked to join a group of painters called the “Independents,” and ultimately participated in four of their exhibitions between 1879 and 1886. Through her acquaintance with Degas, Cassatt not only gained access to the center of artistic modernism but also cultivated a lifelong reverence for drawing that undoubtedly contributed to the masterful draftsmanship persistent in her body of work.

Clarissa, With Her Hand to Her Ear, Turned Left, Cassatt portrays her subject in an especially intimate pose: Clarissa relaxes casually in a chair, her head resting on her hand and eyes downcast. She appears lost in contemplation, completely unaware in her self-absorption of the presence of any other person. Cassatt was attracted to the theme of the solitary female figure for the deep observation it provoked: Clarissa’s enigmatic gesture and facial expression invite viewers to speculate on the intentionally ambiguous nature of her thoughts. The simplified background highlights the lush and painterly qualities of Clarissa’s face and complexion, as the remainder of the composition is characterized by long, loose and free strokes of pigment. This contrast is characteristic of Cassatt’s work of the period, and demonstrates her unique adaptation of the traditional three-fourths length portrait.

 

 

American Art

|
New York