Lot 37
  • 37

Thomas Wilmer Dewing

80,000 - 120,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Thomas Wilmer Dewing
  • The Dance No. 205
  • signed TW Dewing and numbered 205 (lower right)
  • pastel on tan paper mounted on paperboard by the artist
  • 14 1/2 by 10 1/2 inches
  • (35.2 by 26.7 cm)
  • Executed circa 1920.


The artist
[With]Milch Galleries, New York, by 1926
Gage Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio, 1927 (acquired from the above)
Mr. Woods King, Cleveland, Ohio (acquired from the above)
[With]Gage Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio
Andrea Cowdin, New York
Davis Galleries, New York, 1962
[With]Robert Isaacson Gallery, New York, 1962
Davis Galleries, New York, 1969
Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Spencer, circa 1970 (acquired from the above)
[With]Spanierman Gallery, New York, 1990
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Pfeil, Chicago, Illinois, 1990 (acquired from the above)
Spanierman Gallery, New York, by 1992
Ed Shein, Seekonk, Massachusetts
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 1995


New York, Milch Galleries, Thomas Wilmer Dewing: A Pastel Exhibition, May 1926 (as No. 205)
New York, Durlacher Brothers, Thomas W. Dewing, 1851-1938: A Loan Exhibition, March-April 1963, no. 28
New York, Spanierman Gallery, The Spencer Collection of American Art, June 1990, no. 8, p. 18, illustrated
Columbus, Georgia, Columbus Museum of Art; Baltimore, Maryland, The Walters Art Gallery; New York, National Academy of Design; Tulsa, Oklahoma, The Philbrook Museum of Art; Phoenix, Arizona, Phoenix Art Museum; Miami, Florida, Center for the Fine Arts; Memphis, Tennessee, The Dixon Gallery and Gardens; Honolulu, Hawaii, Honolulu Academy of Arts; Birmingham, Alabama, Birmingham Museum of Art; Portland, Oregon, Portland Art Museum; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Milwaukee Art Museum, Masterworks of American Impressionism From the Pfeil Collection, February 1992-June 1994, no. 27, p. 109, illustrated p. 111
New York, The Brooklyn Museum; Washington, D.C., National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution; Detroit, Michigan, Detroit Institute of Arts, Beauty Reconfigured: The Art of Thomas Wilmer Dewing, March 1996-January 1997, no. 70, p. 215, illustrated
New York, Vance Jordan Fine Art, Poetic Painting: American Masterworks from the Clark and Liebes Collections, October-December 2001, illustrated pl. 7


Michael Quick, “Living with Antiques: A Collection Where East Meets West,” The Magazine Antiques, November 2001, vol. 160, no. 5, p. 682, illustrated pl. IV

Catalogue Note

Thomas Wilmer Dewing began experimenting with pastels in the 1890s, inspired in part by James McNeill Whistler’s exhibition of works in the medium held in New York in 1889. The result was an exquisite series of small-format highly sophisticated and ethereal renderings of women executed with thin veils of delicately applied pigment on tan paper that was deliberately chosen to create a harmonious effect.  Dewing’s pastels shared similar concerns as his oil paintings and Theodore Stebbins Jr. writes that works such as The Dance are, “coloristic and compositional perfection…a world so delicate that at times it borders on the ecstatic” (American Master Drawings and Watercolors, New York, 1976, p. 229). The scholar Susan A. Hobbs writes of the present work, "Especially dramatic, The Dance is one of the few pastels by Dewing that suggests movement in a graceful, swaying figure. A pale mauve palette predominates, and blue and green have been used as highlights. The model has been rendered in so reduced a color scheme that she almost seems defined by light itself. Illuminated from the left, the dancer steps forward from the shadows like an apparition - a vision impalpable yet elegantly compelling.

Garbed in diaphanous chiffon, the subject holds out the gossamer folds of her dress as she moves toward the viewer. During the 1890s the artist had featured dancing figures in his large landscape oils. Several decades later, in this pastel and several related oil paintings, he would again return to the dance theme. Swaying in a lyrical cadence, his figures move silently to the strains of music they alone can hear" (Reconfigured: The Art of Thomas Wilmer Dewing, March 1996-January 1997, p. 215).