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Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

British, born Netherlands, 1836–1912

Preparations for the Festivities (The Floral Wreath)

1866

A man converses with a woman as she threads a garland of flowers. Two servants—one veiled by a fabric screen on the left—decorate the Pompeian interior for a celebration. The setting is filled with archaeological details, including a marble fountain with a lion’s-head spout and bronze, animal-shaped cups. Scenes like this helped establish Alma-Tadema’s reputation as a painter of life in the ancient world.

Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions 21 1/4 x 27 1/4 in. (54 x 69.2 cm) Frame: 32 5/8 x 38 x 3 in. (82.9 x 96.5 x 7.6 cm)
Object Number 1982.11
Acquisition Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts. Bequest of Madeleine Dahlgren Townsend, 1982
Status On View

Image Caption

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Preparations for the Festivities (The Floral Wreath), 1866, oil on canvas. Clark Art Institute, Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts Bequest of Madeleine Dahlgren Townsend, 1982.11

Select Bibliography

Exposition Générale des Beaux-Arts. Exhibition catalogue. Brussels: Imprimerie de Charles Lelong, 1866. Tentoonstelling van Kunstwerken van Levende Meesters. Exhibition catalogue. The Hague: J. van Weerden, 1866. Lovett, Jennifer Gordon and William R. Johnston. Empires Restored, Elysium Revisited: The Art of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Exhibitionc catalogue. Williamstown, MA: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1991. Mainardi, Particia. The Persistence of Classicism. Exhibition catalogue. Williamstown, MA: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1995. Vosmaer, Carel, Laurence Alma-Tadema and C. J. G. Vosmaer. Alma-Tadema Catalogue Raisonné. Unpublished manuscript, c. 1885. Standing, Percy Cross. Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema O.M., R.A.. London: Cassell & Co., 1905. Dircks, Rudolph. "The Later Works of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, O.M., R.A., R.W.S." Art Journal (Special issue, Christmas 1910). Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. List of Paintings in the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, MA: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1984. Kern, Steven, ed. List of Paintings in the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, MA: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1992. National Gallery of Art. James McNeill Whistler. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1994. Video. Hunter, Norah T. The Art of Floral Design. 2nd edition. Albany, NY: Delmar Publishers, 2000. Swanson, Vern G. The Biography and Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. London: Garton & Co., 1990. Lees, Sarah, ed. Nineteenth-Century European Paintings at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, MA: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute; New Haven and London: distributed by Yale University Press, 2012. Ebers, Georg Moritz. Lorenz Alma Tadema: His Life and Works. Translated by Mary J. Safford. New York: W. S. Gottsberger, 1886.

EUROPEAN PAINTINGS CATALOGUE ENTRY

Provenance

Commissioned by Donner, Brussels (from 1866); Baron Jules de Hauff, Paris, sold to Goupil, 16 Dec. 1881; [Goupil, Paris, 1881, sold to Avery, 6 May 1882, as Préparatifs d’une fête];¹ [Samuel Putnam Avery, New York, from 1882, d. 1904]; Madeleine Dahlgren Townsend, New York, bequeathed to the Clark, 1981; Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1982. 1. See Goupil Stock Books, book 10, p. 195, no. 15826. Avery also records his purchase in his own notes as “bought of Goupil . . . Tadema 850” (Notebook V, p. 110, 20 May 1882, in Avery 1979, 651–52).

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