Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Recovered Photos from Smithsonian Museums

I went back into my old archives and found there are photos I never shared way back from our 2007 trip to Washington, D.C.!

Let's not forget these lovely things I saw:

Juliette Gordon Low, 1887
Edward Hughes, Pentonville, London 1832 - 1908
Oil on canva, with frame: 167 x 130.8 x 10.2cm (65 3/4 x 51 1/2 x 4")
Gift of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America in 1973 to National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, NPG.73.5

"Juliette Gordon Low (October 31, 1860 – January 17, 1927) was the founder of Girl Scouts of the USA. Inspired by the work of Lord Baden-Powell, founder of Boy Scouts, Juliette Low joined the Girl Guide movement in England, forming a group of Girl Guides in Great Britain in 1911.

"In 1912 she returned to the United States, and established the first U.S. Girl Guide troop in Savannah, Georgia, that year. In 1915, the United States' Girl Guides became known as the Girl Scouts, and Juliette Gordon Low was the first president. She stayed active until the time of her death."(From Wikipedia)

Next, we have a portrait of another influental American woman:

Louisa May Alcott, 1891
Frank Edwin Elwell, Concord, Massachusetts June 1858 - Jan 1922 Darien, Connecticut
Bronze, with mount: 72.4 x 61 x 30.5cm (28 1/2 x 24 x 12"), 1967 cast after 1891 original by Roman Bronze Works, Inc.
Gift in memory of Alcott Farrar Elwell (1886-1962) by his wife, Helen Chaffee Elwell to National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, NPG.68.5

"Elwell was orphaned at age four and, according to various sources, was adopted by author Louisa May Alcott[3] or grew up under the care of his grandfather, Mr. Farrar."

In any case, there's a close enough relationship as "Elwell received his first instruction in art from May Alcott’s sister, Abigail May Alcott, who also taught noted sculptor Daniel Chester French."(From Wikipedia)

"Louisa May Alcott (November 29, 1832 – March 6, 1888) was an American novelist, short story writer and poet best known as the author of the novel Little Women (1868) and its sequels Little Men (1871) and Jo's Boys (1886).[1] Raised in New England by her transcendentalist parents, Abigail May and Amos Bronson Alcott, she grew up among many of the well-known intellectuals of the day, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow."(From Wikipedia)

Thomas Paine was influential a little earlier in American history:

Thomas Paine, c. 1806/1807
John Wesley Jarvis, South Shields, England 1780 - - 1840 New York City
Oil on canvas, overall size: 65.4 x 52.1 cm (25 3/4 x 20 1/2 in.)
On Loan to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery by the National Gallery of Art, NGA 1950.15.1

"Thomas Paine (born Thomas Pain[1]) (February 9, 1737 [O.S. January 29, 1736][Note 1] – June 8, 1809) was an English-born American political activist, philosopher, political theorist, and revolutionary. One of the Founding Fathers of the United States, he authored the two most influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution and inspired the patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Great Britain.[2] His ideas reflected Enlightenment-era ideals of transnational human rights.[3] Historian Saul K. Padover described him as "a corsetmaker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination".[4] Born in Thetford in the English county of Norfolk, Paine migrated to the British American colonies in 1774 with the help of Benjamin Franklin, arriving just in time to participate in the American Revolution." (From Wikipedia)

Artists wanted to see America's first president in a heroic light, and styled him after a Roman emperor:

George Washington, c. 1819 copy after 1792 original
Massimiliano Ravenna, copy after Giuseppe Ceracchi, 4 Jul 1751 - 31 Jan 1801
Marble, 69.5cm (27 3/8")
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, NPG.70.4
Wikipedia has another view of this sculpture

Cleopatra was an ancient ruler whose depictions have often taken on a mythic quality. In some ways this depiction has more of a realistic quality:

The Death of Cleopatra, 1876
Edmonia Lewis, Greenbush, New York (now Rensselaer) July 4, 1844 – September 17, 1907 London, England
Marble, 63 x 31 1/4 x 46 in. (160.0 x 79.4 x 116.8 cm.)
Gift of the Historical Society of Forest Park, Illinois to Smithsonian American Art Museum, SAAM 1994.17

(From museum website)
"Cleopatra (69 - 30 BCE), the legendary queen of Egypt from 51 to 30 BCE, is often best known for her dramatic suicide, allegedly from the fatal bite of a poisonous snake. Here, Edmonia Lewis portrayed Cleopatra in the moment after her death, wearing her royal attire, in majestic repose on a throne. The identical sphinx heads flanking the throne represent the twins she bore with Roman general Marc Antony, while the hieroglyphics on the side have no meaning. Lewis was working at a time when Neoclassicism was a popular artistic style that favored classical, Biblical, or literary themes—thus Cleopatra was a common subject.

"Unlike her contemporaries who often depicted an idealized Cleopatra merely contemplating suicide, Lewis showed the queen’s death more realistically, after the asp’s venom had taken hold—an attribute viewed as “ghastly” and “absolutely repellant” in its day (William J. Clark, Great American Sculpture, 1878). Despite this, the piece was first exhibited to great acclaim at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876 and critics raved that it was the most impressive American sculpture in the show. Not long after its debut, however, Death of Cleopatra was presumed lost for almost a century—appearing at a Chicago saloon, marking a horse’s grave at a suburban racetrack, and eventually reappearing at a salvage yard in the 1980s. In 1985 the statue was given to the Historical Society of Forest Park, which in turn donated it to the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 1994."

James Abbott McNeill Whistler (July 1834 - July 1903), 1872
Joseph Edgar Boehm, Vienna, 6 July 1834 – 12 December 1890 London, England)
Terra cotta, Dimensions with socle: 68.6 x 43.2 x 25.4cm (27 x 17 x 10")
Bequest of Albert E. Gallatin, 1952, Transfer from the National Gallery of Art to National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, NPG.65.74

Exhibition Label:
An innovative painter, designer, and printmaker, James McNeill Whistler frequently identified his landscapes and portraits as "symphonies," "nocturnes," and "arrangements," demonstrating his interest in atmosphere, color, and line. Though often neglected in his native United States, Whistler was lionized by the avant-garde of Europe, and his most productive years were spent in London and Paris. The artist's wit and self-fashioning further heightened his celebrity. Joseph Edgar Boehm sculpted this bust in 1872, the year in which Whistler exhibited his now-famous Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Artist's Mother at the Royal Academy in London.

Nude Seated at Her Dressing Table, 1909,
Frederick Carl Frieseke, Owosso, MI 1874 - 1939 Mesnil-sur-Blangy, France
Oil on canvas, 63 7/8 x 51 5/8 in. (162.2 x 131.1 cm.)
Gift of the Sidney Avery and Diana Avery 1978 Trust to Smithsonian American Art Museum, 1997.62

Frieseke "was an American Impressionist painter who spent most of his life as an expatriate in France. An influential member of the Giverny art colony, his paintings often concentrated on various effects of dappled sunlight. He is especially known for painting female subjects, both indoors and out." (Source: Wikipedia)

One and Another, 1934
Hugo Robus, Cleveland, Ohio 1885 - January 14, 1964 New City, New York
Bronze on wood base, overall: 28 3/4 x 43 7/8 x 23 3/8 in. (73.0 x 111.5 x 59.4 cm.),
Gift of the Sara Roby Foundation to Smithsonian American Art Museum, SAAM 1986.6.72

Exhibition Label
"Hugo Robus’s sculpture captures the age-old theme of mother and child. The stylized design and polished surface of One and Another reflect his early training as a jeweler before he turned to painting and subsequently to sculpture. Each figure is complete yet interlocked with the other; their silhouettes trace the double oval of the infinity symbol, recalling the interdependence of mother and child."

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