Albert Herter (1871–1950)
A Japanese Woman, 1889
Watercolor on paper, 9 x 6 1/2 in.
Signed and dated upper left: - Albert Herter - / - ’89 -
This painting retains the original, nineteenth-century table stand frame, with mother-of-pearl inlay, measuring 25 x 16 1/2 x 7 inches
Provenance: David McCabe, Greenwich, Connecticut
In A Japanese Woman, Herter painted a traditionally dressed Japanese woman standing on the street selling a variety of flowers. The kanji on the shutter says, “photograph,” which means that the woman is probably outside of a photography studio. This scene is interesting because Herter combined the popular Parisian theme of a girl selling flowers on the street with japonaiserie, the late nineteenth-century vogue for all things Japanese. The stark tan background of the building allows for the array of green, red, and violet flora to stand out, while the delicate floral pattern on the kimono blends almost seamlessly into the flowers and foliage. The precise and delicate brushwork and the translucent quality of the watercolors help to convey the serenity of the scene.