A Breton Girl

Country of Origin United States
Dated c. 1890
Medium Oil on canvas
Signed/Dated Signed lower right
Dimensions 18.50inch wide (46.99 cm wide)
22.00inch high (55.88 cm high)
Framed Dimensions 26.00inch wide (66.04 cm wide)
27.50inch high (69.85 cm high)
Condition Excellent

CHARLES SPRAGUE PEARCE (1851-1914) Biography

Charles Sprague Pearce studied at the Brimmer School and the Boston Latin School, then in 1873 went to Paris and studied under Léon Bonnat. In the winter of 1873 Pearce travelled to Egypt and in 1874-1875 to Algiers. He settled on a farm in Auvers-sur-Oise in France, and was a leading American expatriate artist in Paris, along with artists such as J.S. Sargent. Pearce often painted genre subjects and historical narratives, sometimes of biblical subjects, such as his oil Lamentations over the Death of the First-Born of Egypt (1877), and Decapitation of John the Baptist. He also painted scenes from rural life in northern France, as in Water Carrier, and Oriental scenes, such as Woman with Fan, which shows a European women in a kimono with a Japanese fan.
Pearce was made Chevalier of the Order of King Leopold, Belgium (1886); and a Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur, France (1894). He served on the jury of the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1889, chaired the Paris advisory committee for the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, and chaired the Paris committee for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St Louis in 1904. He organised the first large-scale exhibition of American art in Belgium for the 1894 Antwerp World Fair.
Group Exhibitions
1876, Centennial Exhibition, Philadelphia
from 1876, Salon des Artistes Français, Paris (honourable mention in 1881 and third-class meda in 1883)
1878, 1881, Boston (silver medals)
1884, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia (gold medal for best figure picture)
1885, Philadelphia Academy (Temple Gold Medal)
1889, Universal Exposition, Paris
1890, Annual Exhibition, National Academy of Design, New York
1890, 60th Annual Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy
1897, International Art Exhibition, Dresden, German
1983, Sunset to Dawn, Richard York Gallery, New York
1989, Paris 1889: American Artists at the Universal Exposition, Pennsylvania Academy (travelling exhibition)
1997, An American View of Paris (Un Régard Américain sur Paris), Musée d'Art Américain, Giverny, France
1997, American Art from the Dicke Collection, Dayton Art Institute
2003, The People Work: American Perspectives, 1840-1940, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago
2006, Americans in Paris 1860-1900, National Gallery, London (also presented at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)
Solo Exhibitions
1993, A Rare Elegance: The Paintings of Charles Sprague Pearce, Jordan-Volpe Gallery, New York
Museum and Gallery Holdings
Chicago (AI): The Beheading of John the Baptist
Chicago (Terra Foundation for American Art Collection): Evening (Auvers-sur-Oise) (c. 1880, oil on canvas)
Framingham, MA (Danforth MA): A Village Funeral in Brittany (1891, oil on canvas)
New York (Metropolitan Mus. of Art): Meditation; The Arab Jeweller (c. 1882, oil on canvas)
Philadelphia (Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art): Fantasie (c. 1883, oil on canvas)
Washington DC (National Portrait Gallery): Paul Wayland Bartlett (c. 1890, oil on canvas)
Washington DC (Smithsonian American AM): Lamentations over the Death of the First-Born of Egypt (1877, oil on canvas)


This work shows Pearce using a pointillist technique likely under the influence of his contemporary at the Salon - Henri Martin who had began to experiment with pointillism around 1888 - 1889. This work is exceptionally rare and one of only a few known examples by the painter executed in this style.


Maxwell Galleries - San Francisco c. 1970

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