Alexander Harrison (Primary Title)

Cecilia Beaux, American, 1855 - 1942 (Artist)

oil on canvas
United States
Unframed: 26 × 19 3/4 in. (66.04 × 50.17 cm)
Framed: 39 3/16 × 33 3/16 in. (99.54 × 84.3 cm)
Already an accomplished painter when she arrived in Paris for further training at age thirty-three, Cecilia Beaux quickly distinguished herself with bravura works such as this: a collaborative portrait of fellow Philadelphian Alexander Harrison. It is one of two fully realized paintings she produced in Concarneau, a summer artist colony in Brittany. A transitional work that reveals her embrace of plein-air (outdoor) painting and a lightened palette – an approach Harrison encouraged – it inspired his comment that Beaux had the “right stuff” to become a serious painter, “the stuff that digs and thinks and will not be satisfied and is never weary of the effort of painting nor counts the cost.”
inscribed, signed, and dated lower left: "To Alexander Harrison/ Cecilia Beaux/ Concarneau-1888"
J. Harwood and Louise B. Cochrane Fund for American Art and partial gift of Juliana Terian Gilbert in memory of Peter G. Terian
Washington, D.C., National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Cecilia Beaux and the Art of Portraiture, 1995-96 (toured)
Atlanta, GA, High Museum of Art, Cecilia Beaux, American Figure Painter, 2007-8 (toured)
O’Leary, Elizabeth L., Sylvia Yount, Susan Jensen Rawles, and David Park Curry. American Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Charlottesville: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts with the University of Virginia Press, 2010. (No. 90, p. 261-267).

David A. Cleveland, “Landscape, Memory, Sensation. Alexander Harrison, Tonalist Painter and Model for Marcel Proust,” The Magazine Antiques Vol. CLXXVII, No. 6, Nov./Dec. 2010, p. 144, color fig. 3, p. 143.

David A. Cleveland, A History of American Tonalism 1880-1920 (Manchester and New York: Hudson Hills Press, 2010) p. 405, color fig. 7.36, p. 404.

Tara Leigh Tappert, Cecilia Beaux and the Art of Portraiture (Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995).

Alice A. Carter, Cecilia Beaux: A Modern Painter in the Gilded Age (New York: Rizzoli, 2005).

Sylvia Yount, Cecilia Beaux, American Figure Painter (Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 2007).
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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