Monday, June 20, 2016

Catharine Lorillard Wolfe (1876)

Alexandre Cabanel: Catharine Lorillard Wolfe

In the mid-1870s, both Catharine and John Wolfe commissioned works from Cabanel, who had made his reputation as a painter of genre scenes and portraits of Second Empire aristocrats. He ordered a variant of Cabanel’s most famous composition, The Birth of Venus, while she commissioned a Biblical figure painting and the present portrait. She sat for Cabanel in Paris, wearing a white satin evening dress that was the height of French fashion in 1876. Contemporary viewers admired the sitter’s elegant hands and her stance as that of "a hostess receiving guests…full of flexibility and pliant, willowy grace, entirely American in its distinction and sensitive responsiveness." [Metropolitan Museum of Art]

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