Portrait
A 19" x 25" portrait by Plath of her high school friend and classmate Arden Tapley, executed in pastels. Undated, but probably from 1950, the year they both graduated from Wellesley High School. Tapley's daughter recalled that her mother often spoke of her friendship with Sylvia, and that both were rather "shy, sensitive girls who naturally gravitated toward each other." She said that when she first saw this image she immediately recognized it as her mother, so Plath did capture an essence of her young friend, although admittedly her mastery of the craft of portraiture is limited. We have never seen such an artwork by Plath offered on the market: her sketch of Ted Hughes that was done seven years later and sold for $49,000 was a considerably less "finished" work, albeit one that showed a more mature command of style and representation. All of Plath's significant works have long been institutionalized. One intentional crease across the lower edge, apparently so as to display the image without showing the hands; small red stamp lower left corner; else fine. Matted and framed to 23-1/4" x 30". A heartfelt image of a close friend by the noted writer. Provenance: the estate of James Sibley Watson, Jr., co-owner of The Dial. [#015999] $25,000

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