Study in Black and Green
John White Alexander (American, Allegheny, Pennsylvania 1856–1915 New York)
Oil on canvas
50 x 40 1/8 in. (127 x 101.9 cm)
George A. Hearn Fund, 1908
The idealized, impassive woman, shown as if she were a precious object, was a favorite turn-of-the-century subject and one particularly suited to Alexander’s temperament. Here, a young beauty is absorbed in nothing more consequential than pinning a bauble or blossom to the low neckline of her elegant evening gown. The skirt’s sinuous striped pattern, the curves at the knees and shoulders, and the contour of the upswept hair justify the description of Alexander as “the painter of the flowing line.” His dazzling brushwork is especially notable in the rendering of the rich fabrics and in the otherwise plain background.