Item #1003532 Love and Adversity. Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale.
Love and Adversity
Love and Adversity
Love and Adversity
Love and Adversity
Love and Adversity
Love and Adversity
Love and Adversity
Love and Adversity
Love and Adversity

Love and Adversity

England: 1900. Watercolor, heightened with bodycolor, on artist’s board, measuring 20.5 x 13.5 inches, image. Signed with artist’s monogram and dated 1900, lower right; verso signed “E.F. Brickdale,” titled, and numbered “22,” with partial indecipherable pencil notation. Archivally hinged to board, with linen mat and burnished gold wood frame measuring 28 x 21 inches. Verso with slight bands of age toning and tape remnants along edges.

Original watercolor by British artist Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale (1872-1945), first exhibited in her career-making 1901 solo exhibition: “Rarely, if ever has a woman painter made a great reputation as quickly and as thoroughly as Miss Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale, whose series of watercolour drawings has, during last month, drawn the whole of artistic London to the Dowdeswell Galleries” (The Artist, June 1901). The young Fortescue-Brickdale was inspired by the Pre-Raphaelite movement of Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and John Everett Millais. She studied with John Ruskin as a teenager, and befriended John Byam Shaw, a protégé of Millais, at the Royal Academy, later teaching at Shaw’s school of art. An outlier in a male-dominated field, she built a successful career as a fine art painter and book illustrator, becoming the first female member of the Institute of Painters in Oils, and working in sculpture and stained glass as well. Throughout her life, she was drawn to allegorical, historical and romantic themes. Upon her death, the Times memorialized her as “the last survivor of the Pre-Raphaelite painters.” Her work is represented in the permanent collections of the Ashmolean Museum, the Walker Art Gallery, the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, and Leeds City Museums and Art Galleries. The allegorical theme, rich jewel tones, and exquisitely detailed fabrics and foliage of Love and Adversity place the painting among her most successful works in the Pre-Raphaelite manner. The ambiguity of the central figure, an androgynous prisoner abandoned by a receding crowd, together with the redemptive symbolism of the angel and the dove, have invited speculation and debate since the painting’s initial showing. One contemporary critic observed: “Miss Brickdale gives delightful proof that symbolic art, which can be the most tiresome thing in the world, can also be lovely and suggestive. It is dead when it tries to revive the dead, but it lives when it is applied to new poetic fancies. Perhaps it will be a natural form of reaction against realism, and against the painters who paint a spade so much more a spade than it really is” (Edith Sichel, “A Woman-painter and Symbolism.” Monthly Review 4:12, September 1901). Provenance: W. H. Kendall, 1901; Alister Mathews, Branksome Park, England, 1966; Christie’s, New York, June 19, 1990, sale 7102, lot 168, The Estate of E. Maurice Bloch; purchased at the above sale by the present owner. Exhibited: London, Dowdeswell Galleries, 160 New Bond Street, “Such Stuff as Dreams are Made of!” Exhibition of Forty-Five Pictures in Water-Colour by E. Fortescue-Brickdale, June 1901, no. 35; London, Leighton Institute, 1902, no. 19. Literature: Sparrow, Walter Shaw, “On Some Water-Colour Pictures by Miss Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale,” The International Studio XIV, 1901, p.37. See also: Nunn, Pamela Gerrish, A Pre-Raphaelite Journey: Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2012. An evocative example of late Pre-Raphaelite painting, beautifully preserved.

Price: $24,000.00

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