Portrait Study in Pink (The Pink Gown) (Primary Title)
This striking picture by John White Alexander, one of the leading “figure” painters working in Paris at the turn of the 20th century, is a classic example of his 1890s style and subject matter – a full-length image of an unidentified young woman in an elegant interior, painted in a subtle, tonal color scheme. Portrait Study in Pink also reveals the indelible influence of the fame expatriate James McNeil Whistler on a generation of American artists.
French critics, especially, noted Alexander’s artistic debt to Whistler, including his adoption of the technique of allowing the coarse weave of a canvas to reveal itself in a composition. Throughout the 1890s, Alexander produced works that share this particular tonal “staining” and textural quality with Whistler’s art, while imbuing his compositions with less severe, sinuous grace – a practice that, for many, defined Alexander as the so-called painter of the flowing line.
John White Alexander (1856-1915) Fin-de-Siecle American, Graham Gallery, October 21
-December 13, 1980
National Academy of Design Special Exhibition of 1939, no. 174, New York
[Copenhagen, 1896; Vienna, 1898]
Exposition Nationale des Beaux-Arts, no. 8, Paris
Salon du Champ-de-Mars, Paris, 1896
International Studio (June 1898): 249, ill.
John White Alexander (1856-1915) Fin-de-Siecle American (Graham Gallery, 1980): 29-30, ill.
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