- Alfred Stevens
- La Neige
- signed AStevens (lower left)
- oil on panel
- 24 by 19 1/2 in.
- 61 by 49.5 cm
Knoedler & Co., New York, no. 5631 (acquired from the above, February 1887)
J. J. Gillespie & Co., Pittsburgh (acquired from the above, May 1891)
Acquired from the above through the Prendergast Bequest, 1891
Descriptive Catalogue of the Art Gallery of the James Prendergast Library Association, Jamestown, 1906, no. 19 (as Winter)
Katherine E. Manthorne, The Mirror Up to Nature: A Catalogue of 19th and 20th Century Paintings in the Collection of The James Prendergast Library Association, Jamestown, New York, 1982, p. 47 (as Winter)
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Like his contemporaries John Abbott McNeill Whistler and Edgar Degas, Stevens was fascinated by Japanese art and decoration. His luxurious studio in rue de Martyrs was filled with all things japonisme and many of his interiors feature distinctive Asian decorative elements. In the present work, the gleaming banded-gold screen decorated with a floral motif, appears in numerous other paintings, including In the Studio, exhibited at the Salon of 1892 (and now in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, fig. 1) and L’Étude du rôle (1888, Private Collection). As with his objets, Stevens repeatedly selected favorite pieces of costume to appear in several compositions. The bright pink silk shawl draped over the table, for example, also appears in Désespérée (circa 1875, Koninklijk Museum voor schone Kunsten, Antwerp).
By the mid-1880s, when La neige was painted, Stevens was able to command significant prices for his work; his collectors included European Kings and American millionaires, such as A.T. Stewart and Catherine Lorillard Wolfe among others. New York’s William K. Vanderbilt purchased Le salon du peintre directly from the artist’s studio in 1880 for a staggering 50,000 francs (see Peter Mitchell, Alfred Stevens, 1823-1906, exh. cat., London 2004, p. 23; later sold in these rooms, May 7, 1998, lot 194 for an auction record). The artist’s growing popularity with American collectors prompted galleries in New York, Boston and other major cities to stock the artist’s views of Parisian life. As such, La neige was an ideal selection for the collection of the James Prendergast Library and a fitting pendant to Giovanni Boldini’s summary view of a lady of leisure In the Garden (see lot 3).