Very little is known of Alice Halkett, save this one work which ties her to a specific date. She was the daughter of François-Joseph-Clément Halkett (1856-1921), the Belgian painter of genre scenes and portraits who exhibited in Brussels, Berlin and Munich, receiving an honourable mention and a bronze medal at the Paris Salons of 1885 and 1886, and a silver medal at the 1889 Exposition Universelle. He painted the members of his family frequently, so we know a portrait of Alice at seven months, confirming her date of birth to be either 1894 or 1895. He lived in Brussels (83, rue de l’Aqueduc), and was descended on his father’s side from a noble Scottish family. In 1882 he joined the circle of artists known as L’Essor, which included James Ensor, Leon Frédéric and Jean Mayné.
Alice Halkett presumably trained with her father; she may even have inherited his paintbox, which was sold at auction some time ago. It is unclear why so little of her work has surfaced, as this painting of iris is extremely competent for a nineteen-year-old. It is most probable that she married young and then painted purely for pleasure. Her work may still be saved in a family home somewhere.
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