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Study for 'Prelude!'

Not on view

Study for 'Prelude!'

Artist: Charles Sprague Pearce (American, 1851 - 1914)

Date: c. 1882
Medium: Ink and graphite on gray wove paper
Overall: 7 7/8 × 7 1/4in. (20 × 18.4cm)
Signed: on verso, in graphite: 'croquis du Pearce', probably in artist's hand
Credit Line: Museum Purchase, in part, with funds given by Rona and Martin L. Schneider
Object number: 97.14
Label Text
This drawing is one of several known preliminary studies for Pearce's painting Prelude! (private collection). He exhibited the painting for the first time at the Paris Salon of 1883. The work's subject matter was inspired by the interest at the time in the art of culture of Spain and, more directly, by Pearce's colleague, John Singer Sargent, whose dazzling tour de force, El Jaleo (1882, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston), was exhibited at the Salon the previous year.

The drawing differs considerably from the finished oil painting, so it is likely an early study. He lightly sketched in graphite the pose of the model and the basic outline of her chair. Other graphite lines at the lower left suggest that he was thinking of showing the figure's right foot cross her left knee. Then, using one or more pens, he drew with considerable verve the thick and thin ink lines that define the model's pose and costume, tilt of her head, profile of her face, texture of the shawl, and the rail, stile and crest of the chair. The pen strokes surrounding the figure represent Pearce's first thoughts about the dark interior he planned for the work.


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