Pittsburgh became an important center for the arts by the turn of the century. More than 1,800 paintings could be found in the city's collections between 1890 and 1905 alone (Weisberg, p. IX). The desire among its residents to collect European art can partially be attributed to the example set by Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick, two philanthropists who held legendary collections. Pittsburgh also had world-renowned exhibitions and galleries that attracted attendees and buyers from all over the world. The following two lots by Edgard Maxence and Émile-Réne Ménard (see lots 448 and 449) were both purchased from the Carnegie International Exhibition, which began in 1896. At the same time, powerful local dealers, such as J.J. Gillespie & Co., showcased some of the most popular international artists of the day and influenced the taste of Pittsburgh collectors. Edgard Maxence's Reverie was with Gillespie, and it is probable that Gillespie may have had a hand in helping the Pittsburgh Athletic Association acquire the work by Anatole Vély (see lot 554), which had presumably graced the walls of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Social and athletic clubs, including the Pittsburgh Athletic Association, also acted as important art centers, for they not only boasted well-curated collections of their own, but also provided a venue for the wealthiest private collectors to network and socialize with each other.
Julien Dupré was among the most desirable French realists and by the turn of the century, works by sought-after realist painters could be found in prominent private collections such as those of John Jacob Astor and William H. Vanderbilt in New York, and Henry Clay Frick in Pittsburgh, which set the tone for artistic taste across the Eastern seaboard. Prior to its acquisition by the Pittsburgh Athletic Association, the present lot was gifted to the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1911 by Grace Whitney Hoff, a prominent American philanthropist who lived in Paris.
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