Alfred Stevens (1823-1906) - La Lettre
Exhibited at the Salon of 1892, this elegant full-length genre painting by Alfred Stevens is a superlative example of the artist's work. See a larger image of it "here" . The combination of the three themes of ladies, the opening and reading of letters and luxurious draperies epitomises the paintings of Alfred Stevens. His exploration of the idea of ‘la femme seule dans son intérieur’ began with the seventeen pictures of his chosen for the Exposition Universelle of 1867 and continued throughout his career. As with Gerard Ter Borch and the other Dutch seventeenth-century masters whom he revered, for Stevens the subject of ‘the letter’ was merely a pretext for painting, albeit an inexhaustible source of inspiration. The restrained but elegant furnishings of the room are in keeping with Stevens’ concern for the latest fashions and the influence of japonisme.