A bearded, elderly alchemist in a fur-trimmed coat leans close over a tabletop experiment. The equipment on his lab bench includes an adjustable clamp stand and an alcohol burner, contemporary to the 1800s. Small vials and flasks, as well as a glass alembic, are arranged over the table or secured with a clamp. In the foreground a small furnace, bellows, and a pile of fuel for the fire suggest further experiment. Though his work is solitary and his surroundings are shabby- even the back of his green velvet chair is torn and dirtied- the large bookcase on the rear wall signals study and scholarly habits.
Panel for painting was probably purchased by the artist from Charles Roberson & Co., 99, Long Acre, London, ca. 1868-1893. 
[Wildenstein & Co., New York, May 1942, (to Fisher)]. 
Fisher Scientific International Inc., Hampton, NH; Fisher Scientific, Pittsburgh, PA, acquired by Chester Fisher, 1942-2000.
The Chemical Heritage Foundation, 2000 (from Fisher Scientific).Show notes
 Schmidt, a German artist, was active in London beginning in 1868 and died in 1893, as mentioned in the Obituary section of the 1894 Annual Register. The painting verso has a label affixed to it from "Charles Roberson & Co…99, Long Acre, London." Charles Roberson & Company, a prominent and widely used artist supply business, operated at that location between 1853 and 1937.
 In 1903, art dealers Nathan Wildenstein, Earnest Wildenstein, and René Gimpel opened E. Gimpel & Wildenstein in New York City (1903-1933). The gallery became Wildenstein & Company in 1933. A typed note adhered to the back of the painting, probably from Chester Fisher, attests that he purchased the painting from Wildenstein & Co in 1942, which is confirmed by Wildenstein.
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