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Drawing by Arthur B. Davies: Portrait of Mrs. Owen [Edna Potter], represented by Childs Gallery

Arthur B. Davies

American (1862-1928)

Portrait of Mrs. Owen [Edna Potter], c. 1915

Signed in ink, lower right: “Arthur B. Davies”. In fine condition, on gray paper adhered to board. Kennedy Galleries Inc. labels verso, stock #1 13325-50.

Davies met Edna Potter in 1902. As Bernard Perlman states: When [Robert] Henri began employing Jessica Penn (who he had shared as a model with Davies) with increasing frequency, referring to her as one of the finest nudes he had ever seen, Davies was moved to seek a replacement, finaly settling on another dancer named Edna Potter. Similar in proportion and stature to Jessica Penn, she was about five feet nine inches tall, just the sort of elongated figure ABD liked. Miss Potter had a dancer’s grace carrying her head high and appearing to float rather than walk.

“Davies gradually became enamored of her, and their relationship began to stray beyond the bounds of a working artist and model. She became his Beatrice, the ideal love of Dante, and ultimately assumed the role of Rosetti’s Elizabeth Siddal–his model, mistress, and eventual wife. Edna’s features not only bore a passing resemblance to those of Siddal, but both women possessed striking auburn hair, the edges of which became a gleaming red when touched by the sun.

“Davies was additionally intrigued and challenged by Edna Potter’s intellect–the same attraction that had orininally drawin him to Verginia [his wife]–the fact that she had studied dance in Paris after a stint at the Art Students League , and knew both French and German. ‘My allilance with im was not an ordinary liason,’ Edna would later confess. ‘I never sought him but he pursued me for a full five years.'”

Eventually, Davies set up an entirely separate and secretive household with Edna under the name of David A. Owen and Edna P. Owen. They kept out of artist’s society and raised thier daughter, Ronnie, born in 1912, as the family of a civil engineer. The two families did not know of each other until Davies’ death in 1928.

Signature: Signed lower right