[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]
Le SERREC de KERVILY, Georges (1883–1952)
“Portrait of a Boy” [William Kelly Simpson]
oil on wood panel / 16.25 inches by 20.25 inches
Before he emigrated to the United States, Georges Le Serrec de Kervily had been a Polish expatriate living in France. Born in 1883 at Krakow during the partition of Poland, he may have had either Polish or Russian citizenship, where his family were titled. He studied art in the West, however, served in the French Army during World War I, and then emigrated to the U.S.
Known primarily as a painter of landscapes and commissioned portraits, this delightful study from 1933 shows the five-year-old William Kelly Simpson, who eventually became professor of Egyptology, Archaeology, Ancient Egyptian literature, and Afro-Asiatic languages at Yale University. He once lectured at Northwest Iowa Normal in conjunction with an exhibition centered upon art of the Amarna Period.
Simpson’s wife was a great-granddaughter of Standard Oil magnate John D Rockefeller. His extensive personal collection of art was auctioned following his death in 2017.