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Cecile de Wentworth

In our 1 July Fine Arts Sale we have a large portrait of a woman, 4 x 3 feet, by an American artist, Cecile de Wentworth. That in itself is not particularly interesting, but when you read what she achieved, it is indeed interesting, especially in the current feminist bonanza. Cecile rose right to the top of the art world at a time, late nineteenth / early twentieth century, when women painters were not taken so seriously. She should really be a beacon of light for the female movements.

Cecile trained in Paris and lived most of her life in France. She became a very well recognised portrait painter. For a woman of the time she painted some of the most distinguished people – Pope Leo XIII, who made her Grand Commander of the Holy Sepulchre, two American Presidents – William Taft and Theodore Roosevelt, Queen Alexandra of England, General Pershing and Charles Joseph Bonaparte, the Attorney General. She received one of France's highest honours, the Chevalier de la Legion. Her work has been acquired by many museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum, New York, The Luxembourg Museum, Paris and the Vatican Museum, Rome, and consequently her work hardly ever comes up for sale at auction.

When we are considering the achievements of a woman artist in the very early twentieth century, it is quite remarkable what Cecile achieved. She must have been considered a very important artist, possibly the most important female artist of her time. Yet today her work is not known because her more important paintings never come up for sale. It is surprising indeed that Cecile has not gained great fame. We are indeed fortunate to offer for sale this terrific quality portrait of a lady by Cecile de Wentworth.

For more information, please contact Jonathan Riley of Grand Auctions.