This spring, the Stallworth and Thompson Galleries were installed to display Cheekwood’s collection of American paintings, sculpture and decorative arts from the Centennial through the Second World War. A highlight of the installation is Juliette (The Green Dress), c. 1897, by John White Alexander (American, 1856-1915). This painting entered the collection in 2019 and has yet to be on public view. Alexander had been much in demand as a portrait artist like his expat contemporaries, such as John Singer Sargent and William Merritt Chase. But it was Alexander’s penchant for painting femme fatales attired in flowing dresses and striking elaborate poses which earned him even greater acclaim. In Juliette (The Green Dress), Alexander paints Juliette Very, the Parisian model who became his muse, sitting in an oversized chair while donning a gorgeous green dress that exposes her fair-skinned decolletage. There is a richness to Alexander’s paintings that evokes the fantasy of how the other half lives, sitting around, with nothing to do but wear gorgeous gowns. The work is on display with other masterpieces from the collection, including works of the American Impressionists, the Ashcan School, selections of American Art Pottery and the Aesthetic Movement silver, among others.
Dessert Plate, 1930. Porcelain. Royal Doulton, Stoke-on-Trent, England. Museum gift of Leslie Cheek, Jr., 2005.3.12a-l (bottom image)
John White Alexander (American, 1865 – 1915). Juliette (The Green Dress), c. 1897. Oil on canvas. Gift of the Marlene and Spencer Hays Foundation. 2019.07.(hero image)