Property Collected by Mrs. Lois L. Fields
1825 - 1905
signed and dated W-BOVGVEREAV-1896 (upper left)
oil on canvas
canvas: 34 ½ by 21 ½ in.; 87.6 by 54.6 cm.
framed: 41 ¼ by 31½ in.; 104.7 by 80 cm.
This work is lined with non-wax adhesive. The paint layer is stable. The surface is clean. Under UV light: The only retouches are a few small spots in the sky in the upper right and in the shoulder of the white dress. The work should be hung in its current state.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
The young girl in this painting is Yvonne, one of Bouguereau’s favorite models. She and her two sisters, Jeanne and Marguerite, provided inspiration for many of the works painted in La Rochelle from 1893 on. While little is known about their personal biographies, their growth from infants to adolescents can be followed through a decade of compositions (as well as the occasional photograph taken in the artist's studio). From Yvonne’s first appearance in Allant à la fontaine (1893, J.B. Speed Museum, Louisville, Kentucky) to Les petites amies (1898, Collection of Fortnum & Mason) and the present work, it is clear that Bouguereau was sensitive to portraying her distinctive personality as much as her likeness. While many other sitters appear distracted by faraway thoughts, their gaze drifting beyond the picture plane, Yvonne is almost always portrayed with a direct stare that connects with the viewer and shows a clear expression of emotion and intelligence. In this painting, Yvonne is shown at circa four years of age, indicating an earlier inception of the painting, probably around 1893.
While there is no record of it having been sold through Arthur Tooth & Sons, Bouguereau's dealer at the time, the painting was certainly acquired by a wealthy American collector as soon as it came off the easel. Kate L Dunwoody was the wife of Minneapolis banker and miller, William Hood Dunwoody, partner in General Mills's predecessor company and in Northwestern National Bank, which became Wells Fargo. Fabulously wealthy but childless, the Dunwoodys bequeathed large amounts of money for the creation of an industrial trade school for young people that later became the Dunwoody College of Technology. They also created The William Hood Dunwoody Fund, which helped the Minneapolis Institute of Art acquire large amounts of art. At her death in 1915, Kate Dunwoody left their personal art collection, including Yvonne, to the Institute.