Hans Heinrich Bebie (c. 1800–1888)
The Sun, c. 1852
Oil on panel, 16 x 13 in.
Signed lower left: H. Bebie
Supplier’s stamp on verso reads: G. R. Dodge & Co. / Artists’ & Painters’ / S… Store / 42 Balto. St. / Baltimore
Provenance: private collection, Beverly Hills
The Sun depicts the members of a family crowding around an elderly man who is reading the Baltimore Sun. Though a child tugs at his sleeve, he stares fixedly through his spectacles at the article he is reading, and a young woman, perhaps his daughter, leans over his chair to learn the latest news as well. While they are absorbed in their reading, a sneaky boy plucks a light green globe from a cluster of grapes on a table behind them. A red upholstered armchair and the open shutter of a parlor window hint at a domestic atmosphere.
This rare, early painting by Bebie can be dated to 1852 or later on the basis of the Sun’s masthead, which changed in that year. The Rococo Revival armchair would have been in fashion in the 1850s, and the young lady’s costume also suggests a date in that decade.