Library at Château du Bréau
Signed Walter Gay
Watercolor on board
18 x 15 inches (45.7 x 38.1 cm)
Framed: 26 x 22 inches (66 x 56 cm)
Built in 1705, the four-story Château du Bréau was located on a 300-acre walled park near the Forest of Fontainebleau. Walter Gay and his wife Matilda purchased the house in 1907, and hosted many famous names of the age, including Edith Wharton, Henry James, Elsie de Wolfe, Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt, John Singer Sargent, and Paul Helleu. Admired by all who visited, the house is said to have been Edith Wharton's model for the Château Givre in her novel, The Reef.
Walter Gay painted several views of the library at Bréau and one, an oil depicting the same corner of the room as the present watercolor, was acquired from the artist by Archer M. Huntington and given to the Smith College Museum of Art in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1925.
Wadsworth Collection, Geneseo, New York
cf. William Rieder, A Charmed Couple: The Art and Life of Walter and Matilda Gay, New York, 2000, p. 62, fig. 40, for illustration of the related Smith College painting