#FridayPainting: Alfred Henry Maurer “Model with a Japanese Fan”

The red hat attracted my attention as did the model’s delicate Japanese fan and the elegant positioning of her hand on cheek. I had never heard of the artist, Alfred Henry Maurer (1868–1932) before I viewed this painting, which is in a private collection as are most of his other paintings.

An American modernist painter, Alfred exhibited his work in avant-garde circles internationally and in New York City during the early twentieth century. He had an auspicious start and a promising future, with his painting “An Arrangement” being compared to the work of James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Then at 36, he changed the trajectory of his art, away from realism to modernism, thanks to the influence of the art collected by his friends, Gertrude and Leo Stein.

During his time, Alfred was well-respected within avant-garde circles, but was unable to achieve the critical success to make a living from his artistic endeavours. It took several decades for his work to be recognized and fully understood.

Alfred Henry Maurer “Model with a Japanese Fan” c.1902-04 Oil on canvas Private Collection