This miniature portrait is signed "Luna" for Luna Alston de Gallegos (1881-1978), a miniature painter from Argentina.
The portrait is one of a group of five of members of her family which are part of this collection, but when purchased the sitter was unidentified.
However, by a unique chance a miniature of her painted by Walter Ferris Biggs and dated 1900 was purchased about four years later and the close likeness with this image shows that this miniature by Luna is in fact a self-portrait by her.
Luna Alston de Gallegos was born in Buenos Aires in 1881, the daughter Dr John Alston, a Scottish doctor who came to Argentina in 1868, and of Carlota Luna, from Uruguay. She received lessons from Walter Biggs and she specialized in miniatures.
During the early part of her career, she had her first exhibition which was in 1916 together with her teacher, Walter Ferris Biggs, and another artist.
In 1929 she had another solo exhibition, by which time her work was well known. Luna is possibly the best miniature painter to come from Argentina. Her work includes miniature paintings of flowers.
She painted nearly four hundred miniatures during her long career and almost all are signed Luna. Those in this collection are all of her family members.
Luna Alston de Gallegos died in Buenos Aires, July 29, 1978, only three years short of reaching her 100th birthday. 523
For other portraits by Luna see;
Two portraits of her grandson; View and View
A portrait of Miguel Alston; View
Another family member; View
Much later, in 2011 - By an even more amazing chance, a further self-portrait of Luna has been acquired for the collection. On the obverse it is inscribed "Luna 1914" and on the reverse it is inscribed " Luna Alston de Gallegos painted by Luna June 1914". It therefore represents her at 33 years of age.
She still has her hair with a central parting, but is now wearing it shorter, and presumably is by now married. Her work is quite distinctive, and she was a very fine artist who deserves more recognition.
There are a number of portraits associated with Luna now in the collection. Although she lived and worked in Argentina, the portraits were all acquired in USA, so it seems likely her descendants moved to USA and then disposed of the miniatures. 1404