Click for BBB rating

Spaightwood Galleries

120 Main Street, Upton MA 01568-6193; 800-809-3343; email sptwd@verizon.net

Last modified 7-7-11
Home / Gallery Tour 1 / Gallery News / Gallery Tour 2 / Artists

Eva Gonzalès (French, 1849-1883): Original Mixed-Media Painting on Paper

Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Prints and Drawings: Prints by Pierre Bonnard, Georges Braque, Charles Camoin, Mary Cassatt, Paul Cezanne, Henri Edmond Cross, Edgar Degas, Sonia Delaunay, Maurice Denis, André Derain,
Susanne Duchamp, Raoul Dufy, Jean-Louis Forain, Paul Gauguin, Marie Laurencin, Edouard Manet, Henri Matisse, Berthe Morisot, Pablo Picasso, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Georges Rouault, Ker Xavier Roussel, Paul Signac,
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Suzanne Valadon, Maurice de Vlaminck, James A. McNeill Whistler, and others.

Drawings by Albert Besnard, Andre Barbier, Henri Edmond Cross, Jean-Louis Forain, Eva Gonzales, Marie Laurencin, Maximilien Luce, and Georges Rouault.

Hand-colored prints by Mary Cassatt, Marc Chagall, Sonja Delaunay, Joan Miró, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso.

Impressionist Portraits

For a review of an earlier version of this show that concludes, "Art exhibits in Madison rarely get this good," click review.
Eva Gonzalès, daughter of a Spanish (naturalized French) writer and a Belgian musician, grew up in a house that was a meeting place for critics and writers including Theodore de Banville and Phillippe Jourde, director of the newspaper Siècle. After lessons with Charles Chaplin, a society portraitist who ran a studio for women and also taught Mary Cassatt, she became Manet's only formal pupil in 1869, receiving advice and instruction from him. She also modelled for him, and his Portrait of Eva Gonzalès, shown at the Salon in 1870 and presently in the National Gallery in London, presents her in front of an easel, working on a painting. Rejecting invitations to show with the Impressionists, she preferred instead to show at the Salons, exhibiting there in 1870 and 1879, where many critics preferred her more genteel pieces, but her work was also defended by many more "realist" critics (i.e., those supportive of the Impressionists) including Zacharie Astruc (the subject of an etched portrait by Whistler), Philippe Burty, and Emile Zola. Gonzalès mature work, both oil paintings and finished drawings, concentrated on subjects from life, including portraits and still-lifes. Her work was exhibited at the offices of the art review L'Art in 1882 and in 1883 at the Galerie Georges Petit. In 1885, after her death from complications of childbirth in 1883, a retrospective of 88 works was held at the Salons de La Vie Moderne. The Grove Dictionary of Art, from which this note was largely drawn, notes that "Although her work was acclaimed by several critics, the exhibition did not draw crowds, and few works were sold at the auction held soon afterwards at the Hôtel Drouet in Paris."

Now that the paintings, drawings, and prints of the Impressionists have come to define late 19th-century art for both critics and the public alike, her work is held in much more regard. With attention now paid to women artists no longer required to be genteel, her work is highly desired. Most of her paintings are in public collections, and those that are not reach very respectable prices at auction. It is rare for her drawings to come on the market. Of drawings sold at auction since 1988, prices made were $20,224 for a small (roughly 8x7 inches) still life in Paris in 1999, $14,730 for a very small (roughly 4x8 inches) watercolor of onions at Christie's Amsterdam in 1993, and someone acquired a small (roughly 9x7 inches) watercolor of flowers from at Christie's East in NY in 1995 for a bargain $2000. A 1993 exhibition at the Musée Marmottan suggested Eva Gonzalès's work can be ranked with her two better known contemporaries, Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt, and recent publications and exhibitions have argued and shown that her work stands with that of Morisot and Cassatt. Perhaps in recognition of this new critical evaluation, when one of her watercolors, a portrait of her sister, La femme en rose, Jeanne Gonzales (1879) (463x385 mm or 18-3/8x15-1/2 inches), came up for auction recently, it sold at Christie's Paris on 22 March 2007 for $585,000 (the presale estimate was EUR 100,000-150,000 or about $140,000-$210,000). It was signed only with an estate stamp (Cachet Studio Haut Gauche); ours is initialed in black chalk upper right recto and signed "Eva Gonzalès" verso in pen. Ours is smaller (296x220mm or 11-3/4x8-3/4 inches), but much more dramatic, perhaps reflecting more closely her studies with Manet; the portrait of her sister is much prettier in a more conventionally Impressionistic way.

Eva Gonzales' unexpected death and the subsequent dispersal of her works at an auction and through her estate leaves us only a small body of known works and does not preclude the possibility of other works ultimately being discovered. The catalogue raisonné of her works lists 124 works, of which a number are known only from photographs of her posthumous exhibition. Of the works listed, most (89) are oil paintings, 22 are pastels, 5 are watercolors, 1 is watercolor and gouache, 2 are drawings, 1 is a drypoint, and the technique of 4 cannot be ascertained on the basis only of poor photographs. A majority of the works listed in the catalogue raisonné are either signed with the estate stamp (61), not signed (10), whereabouts unknown and signature indeterminate (9), and one is monogrammed (top right) as ours. Our piece is not included in the catalogue raisonné, presumably because it was uknown to the compilers, but it has the power and force of her best work (and not a little of Manet's style), it is monogrammed top right and it is signed on the verso with a signature that seems very close if not identical to that on #62 (see photograph of signature below).

Select bibliography: Philippe Burty, Eva Gonzales (Paris: Salons de La Vie Moderne, 1885); Galerie Marcel Bernheim, Retrospective Eva Gonzales (Paris: Galerie Marcel Bernheim, 1932); Tamar Garb, Women Impressionists (NY: Rizzoli, 1986); Edward Lucie-Smith, Impressionist Women (London: George Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1989); Musée Marmottan, Les Femmes Impressionnistes: Mary Cassatt, Eva Gonzales, Berthe Morisot (Paris: Bibliothèque des Arts, 1993); Claude Roger-Marx, Eva Gonzalès (Saint-Germain-en-Laye: Les Editions de Neuilly, 1950); Claude Roger-Marx, Eva Gonzalès (Paris: Galerie Daber, 1959); Marie-Caroline Sainsaulieu and Jacques de Mons, Eva Gonzales. 1849-1883. Etude critique et catalogue raisonné (Paris: Bibliothèque des Arts, 1990).
Please continue scrolling downwards; after long blocks of text, there tend to be large open spaces.
Eva Gonzalès (French, 1849-1883), An actress with a mask. Brush and black ink and wash with white gouache heightening and black chalk on tan wove paper. Initialed in pencil upper right recto with a small "E" within a large "G"; signed or inscribed "Eva Gonzales" verso in pen (this signature is veryclose to that illustrated in Sainsaulieu and Mons, n. 62, p. 155, c. 1873-74). The earrings that the actress is wearing are similar to the very elaborate earrings that the artist is wearing in a photograph of her in Sainsaulieu and Mons, p. 5, which depicts a long elaborate earring with three separate levels in her own ear. Vertical tear top center; diagonal tear bottom right. Paper losses at corners. Image size: 296x220mm (11-3/4x8-3/4 inches). Price: $275,000.

See below for a photograph of the piece as matted.
Eva Gonzalès (French, 1849-1883), An actress with a mask. Brush and black ink and wash with white gouache heightening and black chalk on tan wove paper. Initialed in pencil upper right recto with a small "E" within a large "G"; signed or inscribed "Eva Gonzales" verso in pen (this signature is very close to that illustrated in Sainsaulieu and Mons, n. 62, p. 155, c. 1873-74). The earrings that the actress is wearing are similar to the very elaborate earrings that the artist is wearing in a photograph of her in Sainsaulieu and Mons, p. 5, which depicts a long elaborate earring with three separate levels in her own ear. Vertical tear top center; diagonal tear bottom right. Paper losses at corners. Image size: 296x220mm (11-3/4x8-3/4 inches). Price: $275,000.
19th-Century Drawings
19th-Century Landscape Drawings I / 19th-Century Landscape Drawings II / 19th-Century Genre: Places
19th-Century Portraits / 19th-Century Genre: People

Henri-Edmond Cross / Felix O. C. Darley / Eva Gonzalès / Lothar Meggendorfer / Adrian Ludwig Richter

Spaightwood Galleries, Inc.

To purchase, call us at 1-800-809-3343 (508-529-2511 in Upton MA & vicinity) or send an email to sptwd@verizon.net.
We accept AmericanExpress, DiscoverCard, MasterCard, and Visa.
We also accept wire transfers and paypal.

For directions and visiting information, please call. We are, of course, always available over the web and by telephone (see above for contact information). Click the following for links to past shows and artists. For a visual tour of the gallery, please click here. For information about Andy Weiner and Sonja Hansard-Weiner, please click here. For a list of special offers currently available, see Specials.

All works are sold with an unconditional guarantee of authenticity (as described in our website listing).

Go back to the top of this page.

Visiting hours: Saturday and Sunday noon to 6 pm and other times by arrangement.
Please call to confirm your visit. Browsers and guests are welcome.