- Listed: January 1, 1970 12:00 am
- Title: La Tricoteuse
- Artist: Louis Welden Hawkins
- Origins: French
- Format (cm): 45.8 x 38 cm.
- Format (in): 18 x 15 in.
- Last Sale price: 11 520,00
- Last Sale date:
Louis Welden Hawkins (French, 1849-1910) La Tricoteuse signed and dated ‘L.W. HAWKINS. 06′ (lower right) oil on canvas 18 x 15 in. (45.8 x 38 cm.)
In 1893 Alfred Lys Baldry, reviewing the inaugural exhibition of the Grafton Gallery, noted an abrupt change of direction in the work of Louis Welden Hawkins which ‘surprises all who remember his early realistic work’. He was now taking a ‘strange digression into romantic affectations’ characterised by his exhibit, Temptation (unlocated). Hawkins had forsaken his early rustic scenes in favour of a Symbolism that recalled Rossetti and Khnopff. This phase of his work lasted some ten years and only around 1905 when he was making regular visits to Brittany, did he return to subjects , such as La Tricoteuse, on which his early ‘realistic’ reputation was based. Jean-François Millet had painted the same subject – a young girl seated beneath a tree knitting – in the mid-1850s (Musée d’Orsay, Paris). Comparison between his early and late styles is instructive. At Grez-sur-Loing in the early 1880s, the precocious Hawkins was a tonal Naturalist painter whose Les Orphelins (1881, Musée d’Orsay, Paris) paved the way for the way for artists such as Stott of Oldham and Lavery. It is clear that during his final years, he moved his peasant model out into bright sunlight – as in La Tricoteuse. Millet’s subject retains naturalistic precision while being placed in an atmospheric envelope that recalls the discoveries of the Impressionists. KMc. We are grateful to Kenneth McConkey for his assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.
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