Spring

Object Details

Title:

Spring

Artist/Maker(s):

Lawrence Alma-Tadema (Dutch, 1836 - 1912)

Culture:

Dutch

Date:

1894

Medium:

Oil on canvas

Dimensions:

178.4 x 80.3 cm (70 1/4 x 31 5/8 in.)

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A procession of women and children descending marble stairs carry and wear brightly colored flowers. Cheering spectators fill the windows and roof of a classical building. Lawrence Alma Tadema here represented the Victorian custom of sending children into the country to collect flowers on the morning of May 1, or May Day, but placed the scene in ancient Rome. In this way, he suggested the festival's great antiquity through architectural details, dress, sculpture, and even the musical instruments based on Roman originals.

Alma Tadema's curiosity about the ancient world was insatiable, and the knowledge he acquired was incorporated into over three hundred paintings of ancient archeological and architectural design. He said:
Now if you want to know what those Greeks and Romans looked like, whom you make your masters in language and thought, come to me. For I can show not only what I think but what I know.

Alma Tadema's paintings also enjoyed popularity later, when his large panoramic depictions of Greek and Roman life caught the attention of Hollywood. Certain scenes in Cecil B. De Mille's film Cleopatra (1934) were inspired by the painting Spring.

Provenance
1895 - 1900

Robert von Mendelssohn, 1857 - 1917 (Berlin, Germany), sold to Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd., 1900.

1900 - 1901

Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd. (London, England), sold to Charles Tyson Yerkes, 1901.

1901 - 1905

Charles Tyson Yerkes, 1837 - 1905 (Chicago, Illinois; New York, New York), upon his death, held in trust by the estate.

1905 - 1910

Estate of Charles Tyson Yerkes, 1837 - 1905 [sold, Yerkes sale, American Art Association, New York, April 5, 1910, lot 37, to Henry Reinhardt Galleries.]

1910 - 1912

Henry Reinhardt Galleries (Chicago, Illinois), sold to Thomas Frederick Cole, 1912.

1912 -

Thomas Frederick Cole, 1862 - 1939 (Duluth, Minnesota; New York, New York; possibly Pasadena, California)

- 1945

Edwin H. Fricke, 1889 - 1961 (Calistoga, California) [sold, Fricke sale, Parke-Bernet, New York, March 15, 1945, lot 35, through Lewis A. Stone to Mrs. Edward Lane.]

1945

Mrs. Edward Lane

1945 - 1956

Hulett C. Merritt, 1872 - 1956 (Pasadena, California), upon his death, held in trust by the estate.

1956 - 1956

Estate of Hulett C. Merritt, 1872 - 1956 [sold, Merritt sale, Ames Art Galleries, Beverly Hills, June 3, 1956, lot 205, to Victor Emmanuel Wenzel von Metternich.]

1957 -

Victor Emmanuel Wenzel von Metternich (La Cañada, California), upon his death, held in trust by the estate.

- 1972

Estate of Victor Emmanuel Wenzel von Metternich [sold, Metternich sale, Sotheby's, Los Angeles, February 28, 1972, lot 27, to the J. Paul Getty Museum.]

Exhibitions
Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts. MDCCCXCV. The One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh (1895)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), 1895, (Cat. 262)
Grosse Berliner Kunst-Ausstellung (May 7 to September 17, 1899)
  • Haupt-Ausstellungs-Gebäude, (Berlin), May 7 to September 17, 1899, (Cat. 9)
Exposition internationale universelle de 1900 (April 15 to November 12, 1900)
  • Exposition universelle de 1900, (Paris), April 15 to November 12, 1900, (Cat. 9)
Inaugural Exhibition (January 17 to February 12, 1912)
  • Toledo Museum of Art, (Toledo), January 17 to February 12, 1912, (Cat. 159)
Selected Works of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema and the Auburn Permanent Collection (April 11 to April 30, 1976)
  • Auburn University, (Auburn), April 11 to April 30, 1976, (Cat. 7)
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, O.M., R.A., 1836-1912 (July 3 to September 13, 1976)
  • Mappin Art Gallery, (Sheffield), July 3 to August 8, 1976, (Cat. 19)
  • Laing Art Gallery, (Newcastle), August 21 to September 13, 1976, (Cat. 19)
Picturing the Ancient World (May 4 to August 30, 1993)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), May 4 to August 30, 1993, (Cat. no cat.)
Bibliography

Stephens, F. G. "Fine Art Gossip." The Athenæum, no. 3479 (June 30, 1894), p. 844.

Alma-Tadema, Lawrence. Letter to Ebers, July 17, 1894. Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin-Preußischer Kulturbesitz.

Alma-Tadema, Lawrence. Letter to Sir George Henschel, August 16, 1894. Letters to Sir George Henschel, George Boughton and A. J. Hipkins. Birmingham, University of Birmingham, Cadbury Research Library, MSS 3/i/1.

La Sizeranne, Robert de. "La peinture anglaise contemporaine. II. Ses maîtres actuels [...]. IV. La peinture d'histoire.-M. Alma Tadema." Revue des deux mondes, 4th ser., 126 (November 15, 1894), p. 331.

Monkhouse, Cosmo. "Laurens Alma-Tadema, R.A." Scribner's Magazine 18, no. 6 (December 1895), p. 678.

The Pictures of 1895 (London: J. S. Virtue & Co., 1895), p. 1, ill.

Spielmann, M. H. "The Royal Academy Exhibition.- II." The Magazine of Art 18 (June 1895), pp. 283-84.

Stephens, F. G. "Fine Arts. The Royal Academy. (First Notice.)." The Athenæum, no. 3523 (May 4, 1895), p. 575.

Vosmaer, Carel, Laurence Alma-Tadema, and C. J. G. Vosmaer. Alma-Tadema catalogue raisonné, unpublished ms. (Leiden: c. 1885, with later additions), supplement no. 322.

Phillips, Claude. "Fine Art. The Royal Academy." The Academy: A Weekly Review of Literature, Science, and Art, no. 1201 (May 11, 1895), p. 407; no. 1203 (May 25, 1895), p. 449.

Slade, R. Jope. "The Royal Academy of Arts, 1895." The Art Journal, n.s., 57 (June 1895), pp. 171-72.

Blackburn, Henry, ed. The Academy Notes, 1895, with Illustrations of the Principal Pictures at Burlington House (London: Chatto and Windus, 1895), pp. 11, 69, no. 262, ill.

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McKenna, Ethel Mackenzie. "Alma-Tadema and His Home and Pictures." McClure's Magazine 8, no. 1 (November 1896), p. 39.

"McClure's." The Review of Reviews 14, no. 5 (November 1896), p. 616.

Spielmann, M. H. "Laurence Alma-Tadema, R.A.: A Sketch." The Magazine of Art 20 (November 1896), p. 50.

Stephens, F. G., ed. Sir L. Alma Tadema, R.A.: A Sketch of His Life and Work, with Portrait, Facsimile Autograph, and Twenty-Two Illustrations (London: H. Virtue and Company, 1896), pp. 8, 16, 19-20, pl. 22.

McKenna, Ethel Mackenzie. "Alma-Tadema at Home." The Temple Magazine 1, no. 7 (November 1896), p. 487.

Mortimer, Richard. "Die Berliner Kunstausstellung im Landesausstellungsgebaüde." Die Kunst für Alle 14 (1898-1899), p. 298.

La Sizeranne, Robert de. English Contemporary Art. H. M. Poynter, trans. (New York: Frederick A. Stokes, n.d.), pp. 167-68.

Katalog. Grosse Berliner Kunst-Ausstellung, exh. cat. (Berlin: Rud. Schuster, 1899), p. 1, no. 9, pl. 31.

Dolman, Frederick. "Illustrated Interviews. LXVIII.-Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, R.A." The Strand Magazine 18, no. 108 (December 1899), p. 614, ill.

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Zimmern, Helen. Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema, R.A. (London: George Bell & Sons, 1902), pp. 51-53, 54, 72, ill. facing p. 50.

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Standing, Percy Cross. Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema, O.M., R.A. (London: Cassell, 1905), pp. 99-100.

O. M. H. "The Art of Alma-Tadema." Black and White 30, no. 760 (August 26, 1905), p. 293.

Becker, Felix. "Alma-Tadema, Sir Lawrence." In Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart. Vol. 1. Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker, eds. (Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelmann, 1907), p. 326.

Alma-Tadema, Lawrence. Letter to Sir Isidore Spielmann, March 24, 1908. Alma-Tadema Letters: to I. Spielmann, 1897 Mar. 12-1911 Jan. 28. London, Victoria and Albert Museum, National Art Library, MSL/1999/2/42-69.

American Art Association, New York. Catalogue de Luxe of Ancient and Modern Paintings Belonging to the Estate of the Late Charles T. Yerkes [...]. April 5-8, 1910, unpaginated, no. 72, ill.

Dircks, Rudolf. "The Later Work of Sir L. Alma-Tadema, O.M., R.A., R.W.S." The Art Annual: The Christmas Number of the The Art Journal (1910), pp. 24, 32, ill.

Pattison, J. W. "The Death of Alma-Tadema." Fine Arts Journal 27, no. 2 (August 1912), p. 517-19, ill.

The Sphere 49, no. 649 (June 29, 1912), cover ill.

Catalogue of the Inaugural Exhibition, exh. cat. (Toledo: Toledo Museum of Art, 1912), pp. 70-71, no. 159, ill.

Starkweather, William. "Alma-Tadema: Artist and Archaeologist." The Mentor 12, no. 3 (April 1924), p. 42, ill.

Henschel, Helen. When Soft Voices Die: A Musical Biography (London: John Westhouse, 1944), pp. 102-3.

Parke-Bernet, New York. Paintings of the XVI-XIX Century: The Distinguished Collection of Edwin H. Fricke, Calistoga, Calif. March 15, 1945, pp. 30-31, lot 35, ill.

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Nash, David. "25 Years Ago." Auction 3, no. 8 (April 1970), p. 51.

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