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Arthur Frank Mathews (1860 - 1945)

Lot 18: Arthur Frank Mathews (American, 1860-1945) 'Lilies of Midas', 1888 28 1/4 x 39in

Bonhams 2

November 23, 2009
San Francisco, CA, US

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'Lilies of Midas', 1888
signed 'Arthur F. Mathews 88' (lower left)
oil on canvas
28 1/4 x 39in


Paris, France, Paris Salon of 1889

Oakland, California, The Oakland Museum, Mathews: Masterpieces of the California Decorative Style, traveling exhibition, 1972-1973, p.18, no.7, illus.

Oakland, California, Oakland Museum of California, California as Muse: the Art of Arthur and Lucia Mathews, October 2006-March 2007, p.32.

Harvey L. Jones, Mathews: Masterpieces of the California Decorative Style, Santa Barbara, 1980, p.18, no.7, illus.

Harvey L. Jones, The Art of Arthur and Lucia Mathews, San Francisco, 2006, p.32, illus.

In this early work by Mathews, the artist depicts a pivotal moment in the story of King Midas. As his daughter approaches the King with the small bouquet, he realizes the error of his ways – he can no longer touch his daughter without also turning her to gold. The painting is bathed in a warm glow, as if touched by Midas himself. The women in the lower right of the painting, clothed in classical garb, are an early appearance of a motif that would appear in his work throughout the rest of his career.

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