The Fuller Building, 41 East 57th Street, 9th Floor New York City, NY 10022 , United States Call Seller 212.535.8810

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Butterfly (Red, Orange)

Price Upon Request
  • Description
    ALBERT BIERSTADT (1830–1902)
    Butterfly (Red, Orange), about 1893
    Oil on paper, 5 x 8 in.
    Signed (at lower left): Albert Bierstadt

    EX COLL: George Bohlen; [Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, 1976]; to private collection, Tahoe City, California, 1977, until the present

    Aside from the epic canvases that thrilled art aficionados of his day, Bierstadt’s oeuvre includes small-scale whimsical pieces, such as the painted seashells he created during his visits to The Bahamas, as well as the delightful “Bierstadt butterflies” he produced at dinner parties, afternoon get-togethers, and other social occasions as mementoes for his guests––especially those of the fair sex. According to a female reporter from the Detroit Free Press who attended one such event in the spring of 1892:

    We women were so glad we were women that afternoon, for Mr. Bierstadt presented each lady with a souvenir. This is how he made them. We all clustered about the table and he took out palette, a knife and some large slips of cartridge paper. Two or three daubs of pigment on the paper, a quick fold, and holding it still folded against a pane of glass, he made two or three strokes of that wizard-like palette knife on the outside, and hey, presto! a wonderful Brazilian butterfly or moth, even the veining on the wings complete! A pencil touch added to the antennae, the artist’s autograph was added to the corner, and now we each of us owns a painting by Bierstadt.

    Bierstadt began making his butterfly pieces as early as 1872, when he created one such work at a children’s party in San Francisco. Since that time, these charming vignettes have made their way into notable public collections such as the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, in Winterthur, Delaware; Yale University Art Gallery, in New Haven, Connecticut; and the Westmoreland Museum of Art in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The Hirschl & Adler exemple, with its striking tones red and orange, is closely related, in terms of the physiognomy of its subject, to an equally colorful Bierstadt butterfly, dated January 20, 1893, that was donated to the White House Collection in 1962 by a private collector. (See White House Art & History, “Subjects: Butterfly (1893), by Albert Bierstadt (1830–1902): https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/history/art/subjects/butterfly.html.)
  • More Information
    Documentation: Signed
    Period: 19th Century
    Condition: Good.
    Styles / Movements: Luminism, Hudson River School
    Dealer Reference #: APG 21236D.001
    Incollect Reference #: 581610
  • Dimensions
    W. 8 in; H. 5 in;
    W. 20.32 cm; H. 12.7 cm;
Message from Seller:

The gallery continues to specialize in American and European paintings, watercolors, drawings, and sculpture from the eighteenth through the early twentieth centuries; American prints of all periods; and American decorative arts from 1810 to 1910. Its contemporary arm, Hirschl & Adler Modern, has developed a select group of established and emerging realist artists and also features American and European art from the Post-War period.

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