Walter Gay (1856-1937)
signed and dated 'Walter Gay/Seville. 93' (lower left)--signed again and inscribed again 'Seville' (lower right)
oil on canvas
24¾ x 19¾ in. (62.9 x 50.2 cm.)
Painted in 1893.
Private collection, Charente-Maritime, France.
Antic Déco, Segonzac, France.
Acquired by the present owner from the above.
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Lot Essay

Following on the success of John Singer Sargent's El Jaleo (1882, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, Massachusetts), the dramatic Spanish gypsy life became a popular subject for other American expatriates, including James Carroll Beckwith and Ralph Curtis. Part of this circle of artists, Walter Gay submitted two works inspired by Seville to the Paris Salon in 1894 and 1895, Las Cigarreras (1894, Musée d'Orsay, Paris, on loan to the Musée Goya, Castres, France) and Cigarette Girls, Seville (1895, Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine). Demonstrated by the present related work, Gay's pantings accurately captured the vibrant spirit of the Spanish factory women, as the contemporary Spanish press praised, "It is not often that we find foreigners translating Spanish types and scenes well, and for this reason the painting by Gay...seems worthy of the attention of our readers. The faces, the clothing, and the atmosphere are typically Spanish, without exaggeration or mannerism, and are a perfect portrait of this interesting and picturesque social class, which is native to Spain and may not be found in any other European nation." (as quoted in M.E. Boone, Vistas de España: American Views of Art and Life in Spain, 1860-1914, New Haven, Connecticut, 2007, p. 130)

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