The Shawl

The Shawl

On View

Elvehjem : Gallery : 5

Charles Sprague Pearce

Charles Sprague Pearce’s work embodies the ideals of American expatriates working in France at the turn of the century. Born into a prominent Boston family, Pearce was recognized early on for his artistic talent, but did not pursue formal training until he moved to Paris in 1873. Preferring the way of life and artistic resources available there, he remained in France for the rest of his life. Pearce’s work was well received, and he exhibited frequently in both Europe and America. The Shawl was exhibited in the Universal Exposition of 1900 in Paris. In this elegant depiction of his wife, Antonia, Pearce creates a marked contrast between the sharply focused female form and the indistinct, painterly background. Antonia, in a dignified pose, wears an elaborate costume typical of the early eighteenth-century. Pearce sensitively renders the flowing silk drapery, intricate shawl and ostrich-plumed hat with fine detail. The contrasting background landscape reflects the influence that the emerging impressionist style had on Pearce’s work. His use of varied and broken brushwork and rich, dark colors, further serve to highlight Antonia’s crisp and luminous form.
Charles Sprague Pearce
(American, 1851 - 1914)
The Shawl
ca. 1895-1900
Oil on canvas
81 x 42 in. Overall
Art Collections Fund and Elvehjem Museum of Art Membership Fund purchase
Accession No.
United States


1985, sold by The Jordan-Volpe Gallery (New York, NY) to the Elvehjem Museum of Art [now called Chazen Museum of Art]

  • Columbus Museum of Art. "Paris 1900: The "American School" at the Universal Exposition." [exhibition advertisement in "Dialogue" and museum Web site]. 2000.
  • Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. "Paris 1900: The "American School" at the Universal Exposition." Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 2000.
  • Paris Musees. "Paris 1900: The "American School" at the Universal Exposition." Paris: Paris Musees, 2000.
  • Fischer, Diane ed. "Paris 1900: The "American School" at the Universal Exposition." New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univesity Press and the Montclair Art Museum, 1999.
  • Coberly, Lenore McComas, Jeri McCormick, and Karen Updike. "Writers Have No Age: Creative Writing with Older Adults." 2nd ed. Binghamton: Haworth Press Inc., 2005.
  • Elvehjem Museum of Art. "Handbook of the Collection." Elvehjem Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Madison, 1990. no. 95
  • Lublin, Mary. "A Rare Elegance: The Paintings of Charles Sprague Pearce (1851-1914)." New York: The Jordan Volpe Gallery, 1993. pp. 40-41, 80
  • Elvehjem Museum of Art. "Bulletin/Annual Report 1984-1985." Madison: Elvehjem Museum of Art, 1985. p. 9
  • Elvehjem Museum of Art. "Artscene." Vol. 8, No. 3, June/July/ August 1992. p. 7
  • Elvehjem Museum of Art. "Artscene." Vol. 1, No. 5, Sept/Oct 1985. p. 5
  • Baker, D. Frederick, "A University Collects: The Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin," in Antiques & Fine Art Magazine (Autumn/Winter 2013) vol. XII, issue 6 :184-193. p. 193, no. 12
  • Clarke, Ellis T. "Alien Element in American Art." Brush and Pencil vol. 7, no. 1 (Oct. 1900): 35-41, 43-47. p. 39
  • R. C. "French and American Art at Liège." Brush and Pencil vol. 16, no. 3 (Sept. 1905): 98-100. p. 99

  • Paris 1900: The American School at the Universal Exposition: The Montclair Art Museum, 9/18/1999-4/29/2001
  • Rare Elegance, A: The Painting of Charles Sprague Pearce: The Jordan-Volpe Gallery, 10/22/1993-12/4/1993

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