Overview

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Marks and Labels

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Provenance

Painted for the sitter's husband, Alexander Blair, Castle Bromwich, Warwickshire. William Beckett-Denison [1826-1890], Nun Appleton, Yorkshire; by descent to his son, Ernest William Beckett [1856-1917], later 2nd Baron Grimthorpe; (sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 23 May 1903, no. 80); purchased by (Charles Sedelmeyer, Sedelmeyer Gallery, Paris); sold to (Eugene Fischhof); purchased 4 April 1907 by P.A.B. Widener, Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania; inheritance from estate of Peter A.B. Widener by gift through power of appointment of Joseph E. Widener, Elkins Park; gift 1942 to NGA.

Exhibition History

Bibliography

1904
Ward, Humphry and William Roberts. Romney. 2 vols. London, 1904: 1:111-112, 118-119; 2:13, repro. opp. 14.
1906
Illustrated Catalogue of the Tenth Series of 100 Paintings by Old Masters of the Dutch, Flemish, Italian, French, and English Schools, being a portion of the Sedelmeyer Gallery.... Paris, 1906: no. 96, repro.
1914
Hundred Masterpieces. A Selection from the Pictures by Old Masters which form or have formed part of the Sedelmeyer Gallery. Paris, 1914: 206, no.97, repro.
1915
Roberts, William. Pictures in the Collection of P.A.B. Widener at Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania: British and Modern French Schools, Philadelphia, 1915: unpaginated, repro.
1923
Paintings in the Collection of Joseph Widener at Lynnewood Hall. Intro. by Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, 1923: unpaginated, repro.
1931
Paintings in the Collection of Joseph Widener at Lynnewood Hall. Intro. by Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, 1931: 12, repro.
1942
Works of Art from the Widener Collection. Foreword by David Finley and John Walker. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 6, as Mrs. Blair.
1948
Paintings and Sculpture from the Widener Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1948 (reprinted 1959): 88, repro., as Mrs. Blair.
1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 116, as Mrs. Blair.
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 103, repro., as Mrs. Blair.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 308, repro., as Mrs. Blair.
1975
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1975: no. 513, color repro.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 355, repro.
1992
Hayes, John. British Paintings of the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1992: 243-245, repro. 244.

Technical Summary

The medium-weight canvas is twill woven; it has been lined. The ground is white, smoothly applied. The painting is executed in very rich, obvious brushstrokes, thinly in the darks with relatively high impasto especially in the right sleeve; the background layers consist of a dark, cool red over a warmer vermilion. There appear to be some pentimenti in the hat and the papers on the table. There is marked traction crackle in the background, probably caused by the presence of bitumen, which has been infilled and has now discolored; retouching extends over much of the shadows in the arms and hands, and in scattered areas of the background, while the chair is extensively overpainted. The thick natural resin varnish has discolored yellow to a significant degree.

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