Clémence Roth‘s “Little Girl with an Orange” reminds me of my childhood when I visited open air markets with my mother, Frances. Oranges always caught my attention. The colour orange has a vibrant energy that entices us to look closer.
The orange, reverently held in the girl’s tiny hand, adds joy and a sense of spontaneity to the painting. The setting is inside but the clothing is for the winter season. Was she coming in or waiting to go out into the cold?
There is very little that I could find out about the artist, Clémence Roth, except for two short paragraphs on the Stair Sainty website, which noted that she was among young women artist who experienced early success in the 1880’s and 90s. In 1887 a group of thirty-three was founded. Clémence Roth joined this group.
From the Stair Sainty website: Clémence Roth’s portraits, such as the Young Girl with an Orange in the Musée des Beaux Arts, Morlaix, there is a certain detachment from the subject that gives her work a very particular identity. Clémence Roth was of Jewish birth, Roth her married name but little else is known of her family or artistic education, although we know she was one of several women artists who Alfred Stevens, at the time one of the most renowned contemporary painters, encouraged to spend time in his studio. Roth did not entirely confine herself to oils but also worked in pastels – one such was exhibited in the 1888 show of women painters and sculptors.