Annie French

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Annie French
The Rose Bower
20th century
Pen and brown ink, watercolor and tempera, on tracing paper mounted on board.
11 15/16 x 10 11/16 inches (30.4 x 27.2 cm)
Gift of Mr. Frederick R. Koch.

Signed at lower right, in pen and brown ink, "ANNIE FRENCH".

Sale, Rossdhu House, Loch Lomond, Sotheby's, 30 June 1981, lot 270, repr.; Frederick R. Koch.

Watermark: none visible through lining.
French maintained a consistent style throughout her career, making her work difficult to date.
French belonged to a group of influential artists and designers associated with the Glasgow Style (ca. 1895-1920), an Art Nouveau variant that achieved particular renown in Germany and Austria. Its most famous proponents were known as "the Four": Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh, Frances MacDonald MacNair, and Herbert MacNair. Women studied side-by-side with men at the Glasgow School of Art, an incubator of the Glasgow Style. A group of these women, French included, is referred to as the Glasgow Girls. They were trained in a range of skills beyond painting and drawing, including embroidery, bookbinding, metalwork, and china and glass painting. French attended the school and became an instructor of ceramic decoration and drawing in 1909. She developed an intricate style consisting of copious lines and dots laid down with fine pens. Her primary subjects were fancifully-dressed women among flowers or woods. This drawing shows a young girl peeking through a rose bower at a majestic woman reading a book. Shown in profile with an elongated neck, the woman suggests French's Pre-Raphaelite influences. The rose was a central motif of the Glasgow Style, probably originating with the appliqued flower imagery of Jessie Newbery, an influential instructor at the Glasgow School of Art.

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