Loeb Danish Ardt Collection - page 136

    ‒   
 .
Portrait of a Little Girl with Her Dog,
(Portræt af pige i blå kjole)
Oil on canvas,
in. (
Signed and dated bottom left:
       :
Bruun Rasmussen Vejle, Auction
, lot
, ill.
e have here a three-quarter
gure seen from the front of a little girl with brown eyes and light
brown hair with golden highlights. She is smiling innocently and con
dently at the beholder,
embracing her dog, which is standing on a chair to the right and looking devotedly at her. She wears ear-
rings and is dressed in a very elegant blue dress with a
ounced skirt, blue, white and red-striped trim, pu
sleeves adorned with open-work white material and the blue, white and red trim. At the neck, the dress is
cut to reveal to the child’s shoulders. There is
ne lace around the edge, the same as that decorating the
sleeves. The dog is a kind of spitz, and wears a broad, decorated collar.
The portrait must have been a commissioned work, but the artist has nevertheless succeeded in giving
it a universal character. As a result of the philosopher J.J. Rousseau’s epoch-making ideas concerning the
special nature of children, the portrayal of children had been a popular subject for painters since the end of
th century, as is typically seen in the work of Joshua Reynolds (
) in England. In Denmark,
Jens Juel was the
rst to portray children’s games and their spontaneity. The understanding of children con-
tinued to develop throughout the
th century. Fiebig’s portrait of this child was painted at the same time
as Hans Christian Andersen (
) was writing fairy tales for children. Also at the same time, the
painter and draftsman Lorenz Frølich (
)—the close friend of J. Thomas Lundbye and P.C. Skov-
gaard—was enjoying great success in Paris with his illustrated books for children.
We do not know the identity of the little girl in the portrait, but her appearance and dress make it clear
that she belongs to the more a
uent strata of society, the bourgeoisie or the nobility.
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