Each of the figures in these paintings represents one of the four seasons. In Spring, a woman is accompanied by a dove and stands in a blossoming field; she seems demure in comparison to the figure in Summer. The latter has loosened her hair, shades her eyes flirtatiously with a fan, and holds a bundle of roses in full bloom. The woman in Fall, surrounded by withering leaves, appears pensive, while in Winter, the figure examines her reflection in the warmth of an elegant interior. By personifying the seasons as young women dressed in nineteenth-century fashions, Stevens modernized a traditional allegorical subject.
|Medium||Oil on canvas|
|Dimensions||46 11/16 x 23 9/16 in. (118.6 x 59.8 cm)|
|Acquisition||Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark, 1936|
Alfred Stevens, Spring, 1877, Oil on canvas. The Clark Art Institute, 1955.868.
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.
Commissioned by Arthur Warocqué, Brussels, possibly with Henry Le Roy et Fils as agent (1877–d. 1880); Madame Arthur Warocqué (Marie Warocqué-Orville), Brussels, his wife, by descent (1880–after 1900);¹ Raoul Warocqué, Brussels, her son, by descent (by 1907–before 1918); Léon Guinotte, Brussels;² [Galerie J. Allard, Paris, sold to Clark, 4 Mar. 1936]; Robert Sterling Clark (1936–55); Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1955.
1. Madame Arthur Warocqué died in 1909, but her son Raoul, and not she, is listed as the lender to the Brussels–Antwerp 1907 exhibition, suggesting that the ownership of the paintings went to him before her death. The Allard invoice prepared for Clark does not include Madame Warocqué as an owner, but this may be an oversight.
2. From the Allard invoice.