Fire Opals (Lady in Furs: Portrait of Mrs. Searls), 1912

Childe Hassam (1859 - 1935)
Oil on canvas
48⅜ x 31 9/16 inches
Signed and dated middle upper left: Childe Hassam / Jan. 1912; on verso: C.H. 1912



The artist

Mr. and Mrs. William Preston Harrison, Los Angeles, California, acquired from above

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California, gift of above, 1928

Wolfgang Pogzeba

Steven Straw & Company, Newburyport, Massachusetts

Sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, New York, May 16, 1973, lot 58

Laurence Kurzner, acquired from above

Vose Galleries, Boston, Massachusetts

Private collection, New England, acquired from above, ca. 1975

Sale, Sotheby’s, New York, New York, November 28, 2007, lot 139, from above

Private collection, Murrysville, Pennsylvania, acquired from above, until 2020

[With] Debra Force Fine Art, New York, New York

Private collection, New York, New York, from above


San Francisco, California, Panama-Pacific International Exposition, February 20–December 14, 1915, no. 3733 (as The Woman with Black Furs and Fire Opals)

San Francisco Art Association, San Francisco, California, Post-Exhibition in the Department of Fine Arts, January 1–May 1, 1916, no. 5526 (as The Woman with Black Furs and Fire Opals)

Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey, Exhibition of Oils, Water Colors, and Etchings by Childe Hassam, November 3–December 3, 1916, no. 4

Milch Galleries, New York, New York, Exhibition of Works in the Various Mediums By Childe Hassam, November 17–December 6, 1919, no. 4 (as Fire Opals)

Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, 14th Annual Exhibition of Selected Paintings by American Artists and a Group of Small Selected Bronzes by American Sculptors, May 29–September 7, 1920, no. 56

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 117th Annual Exhibition, February 5–March 26, 1922, no. 235 (as Fire Opal)


John E. D. Trask, ed., Catalogue De Luxe of the Department of Fine Arts, Panama-Pacific International Exposition (San Francisco: Paul Elder and Company, 1915), 221, no. 3733.

Illustrated Catalogue of the Post-Exposition Exhibition in the Department of Fine Arts (San Francisco: San Francisco Art Association, 1916), 54, no. 5526.

Exhibition of Works in the Various Mediums by Childe Hassam (New York: Milch Galleries, 1919), no. 4.

Nathaniel Pousette-Dart, Childe Hassam (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1922), n.p. (as Fire Opals).

Adeline Adams, Childe Hassam (New York: American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1938), 122.

H. Barbara Weinberg, Childe Hassam, American Impressionist (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2004), 283n.34.

Related Work

Lady in Furs (Mrs. Charles A. Searls), 1912, oil on canvas, 30 x 25 inches, signed and dated upper right: Childe Hassam / 1912; Location unknown


Hassam painted very few conventional portraits; at the end of his career he himself could recall only eight.[1] Most of his portraits were done in the open air, or by a window to let light in. The present work is one of two portraits Hassam completed of the sitter, Mrs. Ada King Searls, wife of Charles A. Searls, portrayed here as a wealthy young woman ready to go out. The title derives from her jewelry; the most precious fire opals come from Australia and are known to be some of the most valuable opals in the world. The present work was completed in January 1912, and the related portrait later that year. The later portrait stayed in the collection of Mrs. Searls until 1933.

Mr. and Mrs. William Preston Harrison were the first major donors to the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

This painting will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist’s work by Stuart P. Feld and Kathleen M. Burnside.

[1] Adeline Adams, Childe Hassam (New York: American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1938), 121.

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