Head of a Girl
Oil on canvas; signed and dated 22
16 x 12 inches
Lucy Wertheim, London;
Thence by descent
Harvey was one of the few members of the artistic community at Newlyn who was actually born in Cornwall. His obituarist noted the ‘daintiness’ of his pictures, ‘their careful craftsmanship, and their rare beauty ... [Harvey] often specialised in figure studies where the dresses of the women portrayed were magnificently done ... His pictures were usually notable for the freshness of his varied palette, the excellence of the composition, and the realistic portrayal of his models.’ Here, the overlapping shades of pinks and greens are thrown forward by the black backdrop, while the red accents in the model’s blouse are echoed by the cherry shade of her lips. The artist may have decorated the frame, which appears to be original. Peter Risdon, author of the Harold Harvey online catalogue, has suggested that the sitter in the present work may be the same unknown girl who appears in Young Girl in a Blue Blouse (1918) and The Flower Gatherers (1925). This picture once belonged to Lucy Wertheim, an influential collector and dealer in contemporary art between the wars. In 1930, she opened her own gallery in Mayfair, where she exhibited works by Alfred Wallis, Christopher Wood and Walter Sickert, amongst others.