Sewing by the Fire, Ashfield, Massachusetts is a beautiful example of Ipsen's interior and figural work. The darkness throughout most of the room draws the viewer’s attention to the two women sewing by the windows, who are taking advantage of the natural light to examine their needlework. The light filtering through the curtains and falling on the figures and the alert ears of the terrier at their feet is offset by the warm glow emanating from the fire. The act of sewing, a common motif used by Boston painters in their depictions of fashionably dressed young women in domestic settings, adds a sense of purposeful serenity and camaraderie to the scene. The two dogs curled up on the floor by the fire also accentuate the homey atmosphere. Ephemera throughout the room are vaguely discernable through the darkness, especially the 18th century Plaster-of-Paris reliefs of King George and Queen Charlotte hanging over the mantel, attributed to stone-cutter Henry Christian Geyer, as well as the tennis racquets displayed on an adjoining wall.
More information about this painting...
The painting is inscribed To My Good Friends Mr. and Mrs. Lynde Sullivan and was a gift to the Sullivans, Ipsen’s friends from Ashfield, Massachusetts. The location has been identified as the sitting room of the Sullivan house in Ashfield, and the figures could be the sister and mother of Mr. Sullivan. Painted in 1897, the same year Mr. and Mrs. Lynde Sullivan were married, it may have been a wedding gift to them.
In 1924, Ipsen was made a member of the National Academy of Design and was elected an Artist Life Member of the National Arts Club. He also belonged to the American Water Color Society, the Salmagundi Club, and the Century Association. His work was exhibited locally at the New Bedford Art Club and the Boston Art Club from 1895 until 1909. He also showed at the National Academy of Design, the National Association of Portrait Painters, the Allied Artists of America, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. He held solo exhibitions at the Arts Club of Washington, DC, in 1922 and at Macbeth Gallery in New York in 1928.
Private collection, New York State
Acquired by private collection, Loudonville, New York, from small auction, 2000
With Vose Galleries, Boston, inventory no. 33413, November 2001
To private collection, Ardmore, Pennsylvania, September 2003 to present
- Previous Vose Galleries label, inventory no. 33413
- Old Frost & Adams label on stretcher
- (on frame) –cture Frame / 26 Bromfield Street, Room 16 / Boston / Old Frames Regilt Equal to New
Our Best to You, Vose Galleries, Boston, Massachusetts, January 15 – March 15, 2002 (illus. in exhibition catalogue, p. 57)