This painting by Alfred Stevens is most likely a preparatory sketch for the painting, Une Mère, at the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts, and it is also close in composition to a painting, L'Accouché, formerly in the collection of Mme. de Bauer, Brussels (cf. Camille Lemonnier, Alfred Stevens et son oeuvre [Brussels, 1906], pl. 21)]. The painting depicts the artist’s wife with their child, Catherine (1868-1946), lying in a bed placed in a bed niche and draped with white curtains just visible at the upper corners. On the back wall of the bed alcove are a red tasseled bell-pull and a painting, possibly a portrait, and a bed-side cabinet is partially seen to the right.
The Belgian painter Alfred Stevens was born in Brussels in 1823 and was active mainly in Paris. He was immensely successful with paintings of fashionable young ladies in elegant interiors. He enjoyed the friendship and support of Édouard Manet (1832-1883) and was a recognized influence on James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), with whom he shared an enthusiasm for Japanese art (see HC.P.xxxx.86).
The painting remained in the collection of the artist’s daughter, Catherine Vivier-Stevens, until it was sold to the Blisses in 1926.
Dayot, Armand and Claude Phillips, prefaces. Cent Portraits de Femmes des Écoles Anglaise et Française. Paris: L'imprimerie Georges Petit and London: The Burlington Magazine, 1910.
Boucher, François. Alfred Stevens. Paris: Les éditions Rieder, 1930, 18, pl. 31.
"Cent Portraits de Femmes des Écoles Anglaise et Française," Salles de Jeu de Paume, Paris, 1910.
"Paintings and Sculpture Owned in Washington," The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., 4/15-30/1937, no. 30.
Collection of Catherine Vivier-Stevens, France, before 10/28/1926.
Purchased through Frances I. Huard, Paris, from Catherine Vivier-Stevens, the artist's daughter, by Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss, 10/28/1926.
Collection of Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss, Washington, D.C., 10/28/1926-11/29/1940,
Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, D.C.