Christie's /Apr 23, 2012
€299,917.52 - €449,876.28
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Artworks in Arcadja128
Some works of Lawrence Alma-TademaExtracted between 128 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Auction: Christie's -Oct 29, 2012 - New YorkLot number: 45
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Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, O.M., R.A. (British, 1836-1912) Ask me no more signed and inscribed 'L.Alma-Tadema Op.CCCLXXIX' (lower center, on the marble bench), and indistinctly inscribed on a label attached to the stretcher oil on canvas 31 x 44¾ in. (78.8 x 113.6 cm.) The artist. with Arthur Tooth & Sons, London, commissioned from the above in March 1906. with M. Knoedler & Sons, London, acquired from the above in 1906. Felix Isman, Philadelphia, acquired from the above in April 1907. with Moulton & Ricketts Galleries, New York, 1912. Thomas Frederick Cole, New York, by 1913. Edwin H. Fricke, Castiloga, California; Parke Bernet, New York, 15 March 1945, lot 38. R. Willard. Anonymous sale; Skinner, Boston, Massachusetts, 9 May 1978, lot 29. with Richard Green, London. Acquired from the above by the present owner. THE PROPERTY OF A EUROPEAN COLLECTOR Henry Blackburn (originated by), Academy Notes, London, 1906, p. 17, p. 63, illustrated. Times, 5 May 1906, p. 9. Athenaeum, no. 4097, 5 May 1906, p. 553. Rudolf Dirks, 'The Royal Academy', Art Journal, 1906, p. 162. 'Pictures of the Year,' Pall Mall Gazette extra, 1906, p. 5, illustrated. Rudolf Dircks, 'The Later Works of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, O.M., R.A., R.W.S.,'Art Journal, Christmas Supplement, 1910, p. 32. Fine Arts Journal, August 1912, p. 516, illustrated. Auction, April 1978, p. 51, illustrated. Art News, vol. LXXVII, April 1978, p. 15, illustrated. Antiques, vol. CXIII, April 1978, p. 768, illustrated. V. G. Swanson, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema: The Painter of the Victorian Vision of the Ancient World, London, 1977, p. 141. V. G. Swanson, The Biography and Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, London, 1990, p. 268, no. 413, p. 477, illustrated. London, Royal Academy, 1906, no. 218. London, Royal Academy, Works by the late Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Winter 1913, no. 213. London, Richard Green, The Victorian Scene, November 1978, no. 44. Photogravure published by Arthur Tooth & Sons, 1906. 'Ask me no more: thy fate and mine are seal'd: I strove against the stream and all in vain: Let the great river take me to the main: No more, dear love, for at a touch I yield.' Alfred, Lord Tennyson, The Princess. This picture was exhibited at the Royal Academy, London, in 1906, when the artist was at the zenith of his career. Born at Dronrijp, Friesland, the son of a notary, he studied at the Antwerp Academy in the 1850s. During this formative period he also met two antiquarians, Georg Ebers and Louis de Taye, who encouraged his interest in the archaeologically authentic rendering of historical themes. This direction was confirmed when he joined the studio of the historical painter Hendrik Leys in 1859. During his early years Alma-Tadema was attracted to Merovingian and Egyptian subjects, but by the later 1860s he was exploring the Graeco-Roman world that would remain his favourite pictorial territory for the remainder of his career. In 1863 he married and spent his honeymoon in Italy, an experience that profoundly influenced his development by exposing him to the art and architecture of classical antiquity. In 1864 Alma-Tadema made his debut at the Paris Salon and met the powerful art dealer Ernest Gambart, who gave him commissions and began to show his work in London. In 1870, following the death of his wife and the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, the artist himself moved to London, remarrying in 1871 and taking British nationality two years later. From then on Alma-Tadema was a popular fixture in the London art establishment. His role was to represent the anecdotal end of the spectrum of Victorian classicism, standing at the opposite pole to Albert Moore, who used the idiom to express almost purely formal and abstract values, with the other two leading exponents, Frederic Leighton and E. J. Poynter, holding the middle ground. Although he had his critics, notably John Ruskin, many responded positively to his winning combination of brilliant technique, archaeological erudition, and subjects which flattered their audience by implying that the Victorians were modern Romans. They, like you, his pictures seemed to say, were empire builders, proconsuls and merchant princes, although like you again they were not immune to little domestic crises and bittersweet emotional yearnings. Alma-Tadema began exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1869, the year before he settled in London, and he continued to show there on an annual basis. He was elected an Associate in 1876 and a full Academician three years later. He also supported the Grosvenor Gallery, opened in 1877 as a more liberal, avant-garde rival to the Academy, and the New Gallery, which inherited the mantle of the Grosvenor in 1888. A number of Academicians bridged this divide, especially those, like Alma-Tadema and Leighton, whose work reflected the cult of beauty known as the Aesthetic Movement. In fact, it was the Grosvenor Gallery that gave Alma-Tadema a large retrospective exhibition in 1882. With his roots deep in European culture, it is not surprising that Alma-Tadema's reputation also stood high abroad, bringing him numerous international honors. In 1899 he was knighted, and in 1905 he was awarded the recently instituted and immensely prestigious Order of Merit. At the R.A. that year he exhibited The Finding of Moses, inspired by a visit to Egypt in 1902 to attend the opening of the Aswan Dam. This sensational picture was sold by Christie's in New York in May 1995, and re-sold in November 2010 for what is still the artist's record price (fig. 1). 'Ask me no more', which takes its title from a poem by the Poet Laureate, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, is a quintessential Alma-Tadema subject. In fact he treated it so often that it is probably the one with which he is most closely associated: a pair of lovers seated on a marble bench overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The sun always shines in these pictures, although it never seems oppressively hot; and the lovers are invariably shown in a state of emotional anticipation rather than succumbing to passion itself. As Vern Swanson, the leading authority on Alma-Tadema, states in his catalogue raisonné of the artist's paintings, love-making is shown not 'at the point of climax, but rather earlier, when the tension is mounting. The question 'Will she or won't she' is paramount' (V. G. Swanson, 1990, op. cit, p. 268). In the present painting, this mounting tension is centered on the woman's hand. The only point of contact between the two lovers, her hand was the subject of careful attention by Alma-Tadema as the artist's preparatory drawing reveals (fig. 2). Like all Alma-Tadema's pictures, 'Ask me no more' has an opus number, just like a piece of music. He must have been well aware of the parallel since music played an enormous part in his life. Famous singers and instrumentalists often performed at his Tuesday evening receptions, and he painted a number of portraits of musicians, either in gratitude for their services or on commission. Richter, Joachim, Henschel, Paderewski and others were among his sitters. He also made several ventures into piano design. No fewer than three pianos were executed for his own house, either to his designs or under his supervision. But his most ambitious experiment dated from 1884, when he designed a spectacular grand piano as part of a suite of furniture commissioned by the American financier Henry G. Marquand for his New York mansion. Incorporating a painting by Alma-Tadema's fellow classicist E. J. Poynter, this astonishing piece was sold by Christie's in London on 7 November 1997, lot 86. Another trademark feature of the painting is the marble bench. Alma-Tadema had made a specialty of painting marble since the late 1850s, and it had become one of his most celebrated accomplishments, endlessly commented on in reviews and even joked about in Punch. Dutch artists had always excelled at still-life, and Alma-Tadema's marble-painting is in this tradition. The same skill emerges in the way he handles flowers, as 'Ask me no more' also demonstrates. But the exquisitely rendered bunch of anemones does more than testify to the painter's virtuoso technique. Evidently a tribute from the youth to his sweetheart, it adds a touch of poignancy to the narrative. It is also a vital compositional element, placing an accent precisely where it is needed, and it provides a focal point for the colour scheme, a subtle interplay of blues, mauves and creams balanced against the pale aquamarine of the girl's dress. This chromatic harmony is enhanced by the pearly light that pervades the scene, coming from behind the figures to create a contre-jour effect and cast delicate shadows onto the marble pavement. In 1884 Alma-Tadema had taken over 17 Grove End Road, St John's Wood, a house previously occupied by the French artist James Tissot who had fled back to Paris on the death of his muse and mistress, Kathleen Newton. He proceeded to remodel it extensively, furnishing it in a variety of exotic styles and generally turning it into one of the sights of London. Among its many notable features was the apsidal end of the artist's studio, which he had lined with aluminum to create the diffused and silvery light so typical of his later works. 'Ask me no more' is a classic example. The picture is almost the last in which Alma-Tadema painted his ever-popular theme of a young couple suffering the palpitations of romance, although a watercolour version, entitled Youth, followed in 1908. 'Ask me no more' was the only picture he showed at the R.A. in 1906. He had seldom contributed more than three examples, and one became more or less the norm during his final years. The picture was hung in Gallery III, the Academy's largest space, and was one of three given what Academy Notes described as 'positions of honour.' The other two were Columbus in the New World by Edwin Austin Abbey, an American painter who had settled in England in the 1880s and achieved phenomenal success with his historical subjects, often conceived as murals; and a portrait of the Duchess of Northumberland by E. J. Poynter, who was now the Academy's President, the two previous incumbents, Leighton and Sir John Everett Millais, having died in quick succession in 1896. Also in the room were further literary and historical subjects by J. W. Waterhouse, Seymour Lucas and Ernest Crofts; landscapes and genre scenes by B. W. Leader, Alfred East, H. H. La Thangue and Stanhope Forbes; and portraits by Orchardson, Dicksee, Fildes, Briton Riviere, Abbey's friend and fellow American John Singer Sargent, and others. The prevalence of landscapes and portraits here is significant. The heyday of the Victorian subject-picture was over, and many artists were diversifying or turning exclusively to these more accessible genres. Alma-Tadema's reputation was such that he could still command good reviews. Rudolf Dirks, a critic who was to write a study of his late works, including 'Ask me no more', for the Art Journal in 1910, observed in the magazine's regular review of the R.A.'s summer exhibition that the picture 'manifested' Alma-Tadema's 'knowledge of classical costume and architecture in as charming a fashion as ever,' while the Times thought it 'perfect in execution.' However, other newspapers and journals, far from affording the picture inches of text as they would have done in the past, either failed to mention it or, like the Athenaeum, whose art-critic was no longer the sympathetic F. G. Stephens, who had given Alma-Tadema favourable reviews for years, were actively hostile. It was a graphic example of how fashion was changing. To put the picture's reception in perspective we should remember that by now Impressionism had been known in England for some thirty years, while the far more radical aesthetic of Post-Impressionism was about to confront audiences in London and America. In London, Roger Fry's two ground-breaking Post-Impressionist exhibitions were held at the Grafton Galleries in 1910 and 1912. In America, the equally seismic International Exhibition of Modern Art opened at the disused armory in Manhattan in February 1913, later moving on to Chicago and Boston. All this was only four to seven years after Alma-Tadema's picture was shown at the R.A. It is true that the majority of people were outraged by what they saw at these exhibitions, preferring the more familiar and less challenging older idioms; but the fact that the exhibitions were held at all speaks volumes about the way the sands of taste and perception were shifting. None of this prevented the successful sale of Alma-Tadema's picture. It was commissioned by the London dealer Arthur Tooth, who published a photogravure the same year before selling it on to another dealer, Knoedler. By 1907 it belonged to the Philadelphia collector Felix Isman, and it seems to have remained in America until 1978, returning to London only briefly when it was included in the artist's memorial exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1913. Alma-Tadema had long been popular in America. The Marquand furniture has already been mentioned, but it was only one example among many. Thanks to Gambart's aggressive marketing, some thirty per cent of his work had crossed the Atlantic, with tycoons like Marquand, the Carnegies and Vanderbilts paying huge sums for his paintings. Moreover, America's love-affair with Alma-Tadema persisted. His influence on Hollywood, especially in his more epic mode, has often been acknowledged, and no one did more to revive his reputation in the 1960s than the American television personality Allen Funt. Funt, who created and hosted the popular and long-running show Candid Camera, formed a large collection of Alma-Tadema's works at this period; and although it was sold prematurely in 1973, it was assembled with such conviction and enthusiasm that the names of him and his hero will always be associated. Funt's achievement underlines once again the link with showbusiness that is such a constant feature of Alma-Tadema's career and legacy. But it might not have caught the public imagination if shortly before it was dispersed the collection had not been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum, New York, under the title Victorians in Togas. This inspired phrase acquired instant immortality, summing up to perfection the imagery, spirit and ethos of Alma-Tadema's work. (fig. 1) Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, The Finding of Moses, sold, Sotheby's, New York, 4 November 2010, $35,922,500.
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Lot No. 1158 L-A. Tadema Title THE ROMAN STADIUM ETC. (3 WORKS) Technique photogravure on paper / etc. etchingprint Sign signed LAlma Tadema on the lower part Size sheet size: 81.0×93.0cm etc. Estimate JPY: 100,000 - 150,000 No Reserve (USD: 1,300 - 1,900) Contact Us
Auction: Christie's -May 31, 2012 - LondonLot number: 20
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Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, O.M., R.A. (1836-1912) In a Rose Garden signed and inscribed 'L. Alma-Tadema Op. CCXCVIII' (lower right) oil on panel 14¾ x 20 in. (37.5 x 50.7 cm.) Bought from the artist by Sir Frederick Wigan, Bart. (+); Christie's, London, 9-10 December 1915, lot 116 (640 gns to Cremetti). with Eugene Cremetti, London, until 1915. 1st Viscount Leverhulme, and by bequest to The Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight; Christie's, London, 6 June 1958, lot 93 (230 gns to Gooden & Fox). with Gooden & Fox, London. with Charles Jerdein, London, until 1963. with James Graham & Sons, New York, until 1969 (exhibited in New York, 1964; Jacksonville, Florida, 1965; and Palm Beach, Florida, 1966). Allen Funt, New York; Sotheby's, Belgravia, 6 November 1973, lot 24. with G. Archdale, London. with The Maas Gallery, London, until 1973, when purchased by the present owner. Property from the Collection of the late Bryan and Celia Skinner, Jersey Times, 1 May 1890, p. 13. Athenaeum, no. 3262, 3 May 1890, p. 576. Illustrated London News, 3 May 1890, p. 547. Magazine of Art, 1890, p. 306. P.C. Standing, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema O.M., R.A., London, 1905, p. 68, illustrated. R. Dircks, 'The Later Works of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, O.M., R.A., R.W.S.', Christmas Art Annual, London, 1910, pp. 2, 31, illustrated. R.R. Tatlock, English Paintings of the 18th-20th Centuries: A Record of the Collection in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, formed by the First Viscount Leverhulme, London, 1928, p. 86, no. 2871. Art Quarterly, Detroit, Summer 1963, illustrated. Anonymous, Alma-Tadema, Rizzoli paperback, New York, 1977, pls. 31, 32. V.G. Swanson, The Biography and Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, London, 1990, pp. 239-40, no. 335, illustrated p. 438. London, New Gallery, 1890, no. 53. London, Royal Academy, Exhibition of Works by the late Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, OM, RA, Winter 1913, no. 199. Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, Autumn Jubilee Exhibition, 1922, no. 471. London, Art Exhibitions Bureau of Great Britain, 1955, no. 56. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Victorians in Togas: Paintings by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema from the Collection of Allen Funt, 1973, no. 24, illustrated in catalogue. Rotterdam, Rotterdam Art Foundation, 1974. Leeuwarden, Het Princessehof, De Wereld van Alma Tadema, 1974, no. 34. This delectable little picture, one of the most attractive of Alma-Tadema's many garden scenes, was exhibited at the New Gallery in 1890. It was only two years since this venue had opened in Regent Street as a successor to the Grosvenor Gallery, launched in 1877 as a liberal alternative to the Royal Academy and showcase for the more innovative trends in modern British art, but generally perceived by 1888 as having fallen short of its original ideals. In a Rose Garden was accompanied by Eloquent Silence, a picture now missing but known from an old reproduction. In many respects the two works were comparable, Eloquent Silence also showing two figures seated on one of Alma-Tadema's trademark marble benches, with a large clematis taking the place of the rose bush behind. There was a little more narrative content in that the girl was clearly wishing her lover would come to the boil and propose, but the pictures had enough in common for reviewers to refer to them as 'pendants' and discuss them together. There was some debate as to whether the artist had set his subjects in the Graeco-Roman period or the late Roman Empire, while the Times took him to task for cruelty to roses. 'To us', its critic wrote severely, 'roses are better on their stalks than when shaken to pieces in the air'. Everyone agreed, however, that technically the two pictures could not be faulted. The Art Journal admired their 'masterly execution', while the Illustrated London News thought each 'a gem in its way,...marvels of skilful workmanship in the style in which Mr Alma-Tadema excels'. F.G. Stephens, the former Pre-Raphaelite Brother who had already been art critic on the Athenaeum for nearly thirty years and still had another eleven to go, was perhaps the most enthusiastic of all, arguing that the two pictures, 'although small in scale and comprising only two figures each', represented 'the most beautiful, if not the most ambitious, phase' of Alma-Tadema's art. Having given a long description of In a Rose Garden, he concluded: 'The beauty of the faces of the damsels, their spirited and spontaneous expressions, the vivacity of their attitudes, not less than the charms of the colouration and illumination of this picture, which are singularly brilliant and vivid, make [this] even more attractive than most Tademas'. The picture has a long and distinguished provenance, some links in the chain calling for particular mention. In 1915 it was bought by Viscount Leverhulme, the soap magnate who founded the Lady Lever Art Gallery at Port Sunlight, and it remained there until many of the Gallery's pictures were sold at Christie's in June 1958. The sale was ill-advised in that it took place at the very moment when Victorian pictures, so long out of fashion, were returning to favour, but two subsequent owners epitomised the more enlightened age that was now dawning. By the early 1960s the picture belonged to the London art dealer Charles Jerdein, who pioneered the revived Alma-Tadema market; and a decade later it was acquired by Allen Funt, the American television personality who created and hosted the popular and long-running show Candid Camera. Funt's collection of Alma-Tadema's works, though prematurely dispersed at Sotheby's Belgravia in 1973, was formed with such conviction and enthusiasm that his name will always be associated with the painter, whose own connections with show-business, whether as a friend of distinguished musicians or a precursor of Hollywood, were far from negligible. The title of the exhibition when Funt's Alma-Tademas were shown at the Metropolitan Museum, New York, in the spring of 1973 - Victorians in Togas - has likewise acquired legendary status, summing up so perfectly the ethos of the artist's work.
Auction: Christie's -Apr 23, 2012 - New YorkLot number: 43
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Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, O.M., R.A. (British, 1836-1912) The Education of the Children of Clotilde and Clovis signed and dated 'L. Alma Tadema 1868' (upper left) oil on panel 25½ x 35¾ in. (64.8 x 90.8 cm.) Commisioned by Ernest Gambart, London, 1868. José de Murietta, Spain. His sale; Christie's, London, 23 May 1873. with Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, acquired from the above. E. Brander Matthews, New York, acquired from the above. James H. Stebbins, New York. His sale; American Art Association, New York, 12 February 1889, lot 74. Anonymous sale; American Art Association, New York, 5 April 1918, lot 165. with Holland Galleries, New York, acquired from the above. Private collection, Florida by 1973. with M. Knoedler & Co., New York. Anonymous sale; Christie's, New York, 3 February 1978, lot 167. with MacMillan & Perrin Galleries, Vancouver, BC. Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, New York, 29 May 1980, lot 39. Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, New York, 31 October 1987, lot 67. Acquired at the above sale by the present owner. THE PROPERTY OF A CANADIAN COLLECTOR Athenaeum, 10 April 1869, p. 510. Illustrated London News, 10 April 1869, pp. 360-361. J. Dafforne, 'The Works of Lawrence Alma-Tadema', Art Journal, XXVI, 1875, p. 136. E. Shinn, Art Treasures of America, vol. I, 1879, p. 95. C. Vosmaer, L. Alma-Tadema and C. J. G Vosmaer, Alma-Tadema Catalogue Raisonné, unpublished manuscript, Leiden, c. 1885, no. 76, 85. J. Belcher, 'The Royal Gold Medal, 1906 presentation to Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema', Journal of RIBA, London, 3rd series, vol. III, 30 June 1906, p. 444. R. Dircks, 'The Later Works of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema O.M., R.A., R.W.', Art Journal, supplementary monograph, London, December 1910, p. 27. V.G. Swanson, 'Alma-Tadema: his forgers and his imitators', 19th Century II, New York, Winter 1977, no. 4, pp. 66-70, pl. 4. V.G. Swanson, The Biography and Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, London, 1990, pp. 150-151, no. 107. London, French Gallery, 16th Annual Exhibition, April 1869, no. 54. New York, The Emily Lowe Gallery, Hofstra University, Art Pompier, Anti-Impressionism, 1974, no. 163. Looking back over the career of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, the dealer Georg Ebers declared in 1886, that The Education of the Children of Clotilde and Clovis 'first laid the foundation of [the artist's] fame' (G. Ebers, The Ebers Gallery, Stuttgard & Lepzig, 1886, p. 23). Alma-Tadema first painted this compelling story from Merovingian history in 1861. The success of that work no doubt led the artist to return to the subject in 1868 when he completed the present painting. Education of the Children of Clotilde and Clovis is Alma-Tadema's fanciful interpretation of sixth-century events. The composition depicts the stoic Clotilde, Queen of the powerful King Clovis, seated on a throne watching one of her three young sons wield an ax. The tense scene tells of Clotilde's bloodthirsty attempt to train her children to avenge the deaths of her parents who had been murdered by her uncle Gondobald, King of the Burgundians. An ambitious historical subject for a then aspiring artist, Education of the Children of Clotilde and Clovis was most likely inspired in part by Alma-Tadema's apprenticeship with his teachers Louis De Taeye (1822-1890) and Baron Henri Leys (1815-1869). Under De Taeye's and Leys' tutelage, Alma-Tadema learned of the importance of careful research in order to render a historically convincing image. The detail with which Alma-Tadema depicted the clothing, sandals, hairstyles and armor of his figures illustrates his commitment to his teachers' ideals. Similarly, the architecture in the present painting, which differs from that of the earlier version, reveals the influence of Alma-Tadema's 1863 trip to Italy where he studied early Christian churches.
Auction: Christie's -Oct 12, 2011 - New YorkLot number: 58
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Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, O.M., R.A. (British 1836-1912) The Mirror signed and inscribed 'L Alma Tadema/à son ami/J. Dupont' (lower left) oil on panel 14 x 9 3/8 in. (35.6 x 23.9 cm.) Painted in February, 1868. The artist. J. Dupont, Brussels, February 1868. Mrs C. Clark. with M. Knoedler & Co., New York, 1919. with John Levy Galleries, New York, 1919. Private Collection, Westchester, New York. Anonymous sale; Christie's, New York, 26 May 1977, lot 140. with Richard Green, London, 1978. Acquired from the above by the present owner. Arts & Life, November 1919, illustrated. V. Swanson, The Biography and Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1990, p. 147, no. 98. Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Alma Tadema e la nostalgia dell'Antico, exhibition catalogue, 19 October 2007 - 31 March 2008, p. 42, fig. 1. London, Richard Green, The Victorian Scene, 1978, no. 43. Lawrence Alma-Tadema was born in the small village of Dronrip in Friesland in the north of Holland and moved to Brussels with his family in 1865. He completed one of his most important classical pictures, Catullus at Lesbia's, shortly after the move, and this was an indication of the direction that the artist would take in the coming years. The popularity of archaeologically accurate paintings was growing steadily at this time, spurred on by the excavations at Pompeii and Herculaneum. The constant flow of finds from these two important sites enabled Classical painters to be more accurate in details such as interiors, dress and furnishings. Alma-Tadema was an early and enthusiastic convert to this trend. His time in Brussels marked a period of prodigious output for the artist, who at times was producing at least one painting a month. The works from this period are executed in a deep, rich and warm tonality that is reminiscent of the wall paintings then being discovered at Pompeii. In The Mirror, Alma-Tadema has demonstrated his interest in the Antique without succumbing to the grandiose theatricality of history painting. His young couple is timeless in their demonstration of affection for each other; they are simply set in a different time. Alma-Tadema's popularity was based upon his ability to capture these enduring themes of love, desire, grief and joy and set them in idyllic, ancient and archaeologically precise settings. In The Mirror, the artist has kept the composition simple. The young couple is set in an interior painted the same rich Pompeian red as the artist's studio. It is simply furnished with a table against which the young man leans in order to support his bride. They are garlanded as if they have come from their wedding celebration and their bodies curve into each other, as if they have just become one. The touches of opulence, the elaborate flower wreaths and the intricacy of the embroidery on the bride's dress and wrap, embellish the Classical simplicity of the scene. Alma-Tadema must have been pleased with this composition, because he used it again in The First Whisper of Love, painted in 1870 just after the artist moved to London. The Mirror does not have an opus number and its smaller scale indicates that it was probably painted as a gift to the photographer Dupont, who shared a studio with the artist. During his Belgian period, Alma-Tadema only opused pictures which were given to his dealer, Gambart.