PHILADELPHIA — On June 5, Freeman’s will offer Childe Hassam’s 1889 painting Mrs. Hassam in a Garden, the largest and most significant canvas from the artist’s Parisian period. The oil is estimated at $2 million-$3 million and comes fresh to market from an important Philadelphia collection. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
Chairman and Head of Fine Art Alasdair Nichol said, “We have been increasingly successful in attracting and selling important paintings by world-renowned artists spanning centuries and collecting categories. We are extremely proud to present such an impressive scene from one of the leading American Impressionists.”
The sizeable work, which measures 36 1/8 by 51in, offers an intimate view of the artist’s wife, Maud, seated in profile in a terraced garden just outside of the French capital, where the artist and his wife leisured between 1887 and 1889. As part of a series of canvases depicting female figures in lush landscapes, the large-scale canvas is a clear testament to Hassam’s reverence toward French Impressionist masters Claude Monet, Gustave Caillebotte and Frederic Bazille. The expert use of color and fluid brushwork lends a timeless quality to the sun-dappled scene executed during a pivotal moment in Hassam’s career.
Head of Sale Raphael Chatroux explained, “Mrs. Hassam in a Garden is simply one of the best works featuring the artist’s wife among geraniums — the artist’s signature flower. The subject matter, paired with its impressive scale, suggests the work was likely conceived as a major exhibition piece.”
The painting’s sale at Freeman’s marks its public return to Philadelphia since it was last exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2015 as a highlight of the institution’s traveling exhibition The Artist’s Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement, 1887-1920. Works by Childe Hassam have consistently exceeded presale estimates at Freeman’s, and the sale of the present work is expected to set a new house record for the artist.
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