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The Fuller Building, 41 East 57th Street, 9th Floor New York City, NY 10022 212.535.8810
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$ 150,000

Young Girl in Pink

Origin United States
Period 19th Century
Materials Oil on canvas
Dimensions
W. 29 in; H. 36.5 in;
W. 73.66 cm; H. 92.71 cm;
Condition Excellent.
Creation Date c. 1835-36
Description Esteemed by his contemporaries as "one of the greatest of American painters" [Carter, op. cit., p. 617], and "the most originally experimental [American painter of his times]" [Tuckerman, op. cit., p. 295], William Page was given only a rudimentary education until his family moved from Albany to New York City when he was nine. Page studied first at the noted Latin School of Joseph Hoxie in The Bowery, then at a public school where he made a portrait sketch of King Louis XIV of France, which, when submitted to an American Institute exhibition by his principal, was a prize winner. In 1825 Page served an apprenticeship to Frederick DePeyster, a lawyer who was then Secretary of the American Academy of the Fine Arts, and who brought his drawings to the attention of Colonel John Trumbull, President of the Academy. Encouraged by Trumbull's praise, Page forsook his law career for an apprenticeship with the portrait painter James Herring. The following year Page entered Samuel F. B. Morse's studio, and participated in Morse's classes in a drawing society which later became the National Academy of Design. In 1827 Page was awarded the "Silver Palette," and a set of Sir Joshua Reynolds' Discourses by his fellow students. In that same year, though he was only sixteen years of age, one of his paintings was accepted for exhibition at the National Academy of Design. Touched by Morse's deeply religious convictions, Page interrupted his art career to pursue theological studies - first at the Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, then at Amherst, Massachusetts - supporting himself during these two years by painting miniatures. Abandoning his religious studies, Page returned to Albany, where he established a studio and gained prominence painting portraits. In 1833 the young artist traveled to New York City to seek commissions in order to accumulate additional funds for study in Europe. Instead of going abroad, however, he met and married the first of his three wives. The Pages settled in New York City, where the artist opened a studio on Broadway. In 1836 he was elected a full member of the National Academy. Reviews of his exhibited works at the National Academy during the mid-1830s were favorable:

Mr. Page now takes his stand among our foremost portrait-painters. ... [his work] displays accuracy of drawing, fine natural expression, ... and rich, clear colouring, seldom seen from any artist. The touch is free and masterly [The New-York Mirror, 1835, loc. cit.].

Two years later a Mirror critic [1837, loc. cit.] eloquently exclaimed:

... [His painting] is rich in colour - highly finished and yet soft and fleshy - the expression is lovely - it is a gem among gems.

The reviewer's descriptions of Page's fine drawing and "rich, clear colouring" in his Portraits of a Lady and Child, and Portrait of a Lady, respectively, are just as applicable to Page's Young Girl in Pink, of the mid-1830s, which emerges as one of the Romantic period's most engaging portraits of a child. The girl, who is between six and seven years of age, wears a morning costume that reflects the prevailing mode in adult fashion: full skirt with front-and-side pleats, off-the-shoulder "drooping" and pleated cross-over bodice, expanded short sleeves with close pleats at the shoulder, high waistline, enormous hat and simple hairstyle.

Page's 1835 triple portrait of Professor James J. Mapes' daughters, The Sisters [cf. St. Nicholas Magazine, 1879, loc. cit.; 1905, op. cit., p. 1061] also relates to Young Girl in Pink. The child in the foreground of The Sisters (Mary Mapes Dodge at age four) bears the same striking facial characteristics as Young Girl in Pink: large oval eyes, classical nose, bow mouth with protruding lower lip - physical features which also appear on a page of pencil sketches in the William Page Papers (Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C.).

This portrait retains its original Greek Revival frame of the 1835 period.
Styles / Movements Realism
Dealer Reference Number APG 6040
Incollect Reference Number 256720
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