Enfilade

Reattribution Points to Romney

Posted in the 18th century in the news by Editor on October 7, 2010

Press release from the Dallas Museum of Art (8 September 2010) . . .

George Romeny, "Young Man with a Flute," ca. 1760s (Dallas Museum of Art) -- previously attributed to the American painter, Ralph Earl.

The Dallas Museum of Art announces the reattribution of the painting, Young Man with a Flute, to the artist George Romney. The work of art has been in the Museum’s collections for nearly 25 years and entered it in 1987 as part of a bequest of Mrs. Sheridan Thompson. At the time of the painting’s acquisition, the artist was unknown but the painting was thought to be by the American colonial era portrait painter Ralph Earl.

Then in 2000 on a visit to the Museum, British art dealer Phillip Mould suggested that the painting might be the oeuvre of English painter George Romney (1734–1802) but was not able to provide further evidence to the DMA. Ten years later, and soon after his arrival at the DMA from the Louvre, Olivier Meslay, Senior Curator of European and American Art and The Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art, viewed the painting in the art storage area, learned of Mould’s earlier suspicion, and wanted to know more. He showed the work of art to another visiting expert, Piers Davies, Specialist of Old Master Paintings with Christie’s, New York. Davies, like Mould a decade earlier, immediately noted the likeness of Young Man with a Flute to the style of similar portraits by Romney from around the same time period, 1760–1770.

Meslay then contacted the internationally renowned Romney expert Alex Kidson, Consultant Curator with the National Museums Liverpool. Kidson analyzed the painting and determined the painter to be George Romney, a key figure in 18th-century British art. Romney was a contemporary of Sir Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough and after Reynolds’ death in 1792 Romney became the most famous portrait painter in England. . . .

Mrs. Sheridan Thompson purchased Young Man with a Flute in 1961 from Hirschl & Adler Galleries in New York. Prior to that, the gallery had purchased the painting from a gentleman in 1960 who resided in London. It is unknown when the painting was wrongly attributed to Ralph Earl, but Earl did study in London for a number of years and focused in portrait paintings.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s