Lot 6
  • 6

Alfred Stevens

70,000 - 100,000 USD
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  • Alfred Stevens
  • La Neige
  • signed AStevens (lower left) 
  • oil on panel
  • 24 by 19 1/2 in.
  • 61 by 49.5 cm


VanderDonckt (acquired from the artist through E. LeRoy & Co., Paris, January 19, 1887)
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


"Art Galleries and Societies," American Art Annual, Boston, 1900-1, vol. III, p. 114
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)


The surface is clean and the colors remain vibrant. Minor frame abrasion along the upper left, upper right and lower right edges. Minor scattered areas of pigment separation visible in the areas below the window and in the hat on top of the table. Under UV: the picture is covered in an unevenly applied varnish. There is finely applied retouching in the column; a very small area of retouching to the figure's proper left hip; and retouching to address prior frame abrasion along the extreme lower left edge.
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.

Catalogue Note

Alfred Stevens was a dedicated chronicler of the modern, fashionable Parisienne and his compositions detailed her life throughout the social season. Throughout the Belle Époque, function followed fashion and the elegant brown velvet ensemble featured in La neige, with its chic asymmetrical buttons, is intended to ward off the chill of the winter’s day seen outside the window. The compositional motif recalls the artist’s commission from Belgium’s King Leopold II to depict the Quatre Saisons (1869-1876, Royal Collection, Belgium), and while the fashionable figures of Spring, Summer, and Fall were placed outdoors, Winter was represented by an elegant figure in a snow-white satin gown, in an interior suffused by golden light.

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).