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Woman with an Umbrella (Berthe Jeantaud)Enlarge image

Woman with an Umbrella (Berthe Jeantaud), c. 1876

Edgar Degas
French, 1834 - 1917
oil on canvas
61 x 50.2 cm
Purchased 1969
National Gallery of Canada (no. 15838)

With her dour expression and plain features, "Woman with an Umbrella" appears indebted to the Realist tradition of painting exactly what one sees. Her heavy jacket, hat, and thick scarf only enhance her distanced, sombre look. When the work appeared in a Degas exhibition held in New York in 1949, the modernist critic Clement Greenberg wrote of the portrait, "The head is Ingresque but more intensely naturalistic, brushed in with a swift yet precise delicacy that reminds one of Goya." Degas first used the canvas for a three-quarter length, standing figure of a woman wearing a black dress over a white blouse. Part of a sleeve is still visible in the middle of the coat of the woman with an umbrella.

Inscriptions 

– Stretcher inscribed in pen and ink : « Exposé au mois d'Octobre à l'exposition Degas (Musée de l'Orangerie. 1931) Non porté au catalogue à cause de la date tardive du prêt » (followed by an illegible signature);

– Inscribed in pencil : « M Sachs / 33 rue de l'Université / a reporter chez M. Wildenstein / rue de la Boetie »

Marks and Labels 

– 'Degas vente' stamp in red at l.l.;

On verso, several labels, inscribed:

– 'V.A.D. 3 / N'6', [= vente atelier Degas, no.III, lot 6]

– 'Propriété de Monsieur Arthur Sachs'

– 'Degas / La femme à l'ombrelle / M.A. Sachs'

– 'No. 20141 / Degas / Frauenportrait / 67 x 50 cm'.

– Exhibition label: Paris, Musée Jacquemart-André, Chefs-d'oeuvre des collections françaises , 1961; added in handwriting : Degas, Femme a'l'ombrelle, Monsieur Sachs »

– Exhibition label : Galerie Charpentier Paris, Chefs-d'oeuvre des collections françaises 1962

– label by Chenue, emballeur, 5 Rue de la Terrasse, Paris.

Provenance 

– 1919/04/07
Atelier Degas, Paris, France [1]

1919/04/07-09 –
Baron Denys Cochin (1851–1922), Paris, purchased from Atelier Degas [2]

– 1929/08/02
Hector-Henri-Clément Brame (1831–1899), Paris [3]

1929/08/02 – c. 1929/1930
Galerie Paul Cassirer (Walter Feilchenfeldt sen., 1894–1953), Amsterdam, The Netherlands [4]

c. 1929/1930 – 1968
Arthur Sachs (1880–1975), Paris, France and Philadelphia, USA [5]

1968 – 1969/06/18
Galerie Walter Feilchenfeldt (Marianne Feilchenfeldt, 1909–2001), Zürich, Switzerland [6]

1969/06/18 –
National Gallery of Canada, purchased from Galerie Walter Feilchenfeldt [7]

Notes 

The main source for this provenance is P.A. Lemoisne's monograph, cat. no. 463 [Lemoisne, P.A.. "Degas est son oeuvre." Paris 1946, vol. II ]. Exceptions and other supporting documents are noted.

[1] The painting was included in Degas'atelier sale in 1919 as is evidenced by the catalogue and further suggested by a stamp on the verso [“Tableaux, pastels et dessins par Edgar Degas, et provenant de son atelier." Galerie Georges Petit, sale III, April 7-9, 1919, lot 6, repr.].

[2] See note [1]. Denys Cochin, politician, art collector and Degas' personal friend, purchased the painting at Degas' atelier sale. The sale price in the catalogue is noted as Fr. 7000 [Boggs, Jean Sutherland, et al.“Degas.” New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art; Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1988, cat. no. 147].

[3] According to Walter Feilchenfeldt, Jr., his father purchased the painting from the Parisian art dealer Hector Brame [emails by Walter Feilchenfeldt, Jr., to Anke Kausch, NGC Provenance Research Project, June 11 and June 12, 2008, NGC curatorial file]. See also note [4].

[4] The label on the stretcher, reading “No. 20141 / Degas / Frauenportrait / 67 x 50 cm.” corresponds with a stock number of Galerie Paul Cassirer. The painting was with Cassirer's Amsterdam branch from August 8, 1929 until c. 1929/30, when it was sold to Arthur Sachs [emails from Walter Feilchenfeldt, Jr., to Anke Kausch, June 11 and June 12, 2008, NGC curatorial file]. Paul Cassirer (1871–1926) was a prominent German art dealer, based in Berlin with several branches across Europe. After his death his business continued to operate under the management of Walter Feilchenfeldt, Sen., In 1939, the latter moved to Switzerland and opened a business in Zürich under his own name, which is presently owned by his son Walter Feilchenfeldt, Jr., who maintains the Cassirer gallery records.

[5] The American investment banker Arthur Sachs was the son of Samuel Sachs, co-founder of Goldman, Sachs, and Co. and a prolific art collector and philanthropist. The painting carries an inscription and two labels that identify Sachs as its former owner. According to Walter Feilchenfeldt, the work remained in the possession of Arthur Sachs from 1929 to 1968, when it was bought back by the Feilchenfeldt gallery [email from Walter Feilchenfeldt, Jr., to Anke Kausch, June 11, 2008, NGC curatorial file].

[6] See note [5] and [7].

[7] The National Gallery of Canada started negotiations about the purchase of the painting with Marianne Feilchenfeldt, widow of Walter Feilchenfeldt, Sen., in September 1968. It finally accessioned the painting on June18, 1969 [Accession log, NGC curatorial file].

Provenance completed
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