Portrait Study in Pink (The Pink Gown) (Primary Title)

John White Alexander, American, 1856 - 1915 (Artist)

1896
American
oil on canvas
United States
Framed: 91 1/2 × 52 1/2 × 4 1/2 in. (232.41 × 133.35 × 11.43 cm)
Unframed: 76 1/2 × 36 in. (194.31 × 91.44 cm)
2010.111

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.

Gilded Age; Impressionism
Signed and dated, lower right: J.W. Alexander '96
J. Harwood and Louise B. Cochrane Fund for American Art and partial gift of Juliana Terian Gilbert in memory of Peter G. Terian
2017-2019: "Clarence White and HIs World: The Art and Craft of Photography, 1895-1925", Princeton University Art Museum, October 7, 2017 - January 7, 2018; Davis Museum and Cultural Center, February 7 - June 2, 2018; Portland Museum of Art, June 22 - September 16, 2018; Cleveland Museum of Art, October 21, 2018 - January 21, 2019.

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
McCauley, Anne, and Peter C. Bunnell. Clarence H. White and His World: The Art and Craft of Photography, 1895-1925. Princeton, NJ: Princeton U Art Museum, 2017. (illus, fig 39, p. 52)

International Studio (June 1898): 249, ill.
John White Alexander (1856-1915) Fin-de-Siecle American (Graham Gallery, 1980): 29-30, ill.
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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