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Gertrude K. Lathrop Portrait

Gertrude K. Lathrop

Also Known as: Gertrude Katherine Lathrop, Gertrude Lathrop

Albany, New York 1896


Photo Caption:
Gertrude K. Lathrop, Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum J0119914

Luce Artist Quote

". . . animal sculptors need honesty, for their best efforts can never equal the beauty of the living creatures." Lathrop, quoted in Animals in Sculpture, National Sculpture Review, Fall 1966


Born in Albany, New York, Gertrude Lathrop came from a family of women artists with whom she shared a studio at home. Her mother, Ida, was a painter of landscape and still life, and her sister Dorothy was primarily a writer and illustrator of children's books. Gertrude Lathrop studied with Gutzon Borglum at the Art Students League in New York City in 1918 and at his School of American Sculpture from 1920 to 1921. She spent the summer of 1924 in Gloucester, Massachusetts, studying with Charles Grafly. Lathrop had her first exhibition at the National Academy of Design in 1921, and in the following years her work was included in many shows of the National Sculpture Society. Although she modeled portraits and was an accomplished medalist, her main interest was in sculpting animals. In 1954 she moved with her sister to Falls Village, Connecticut, where she died in 1986.

National Museum of American Art (CD-ROM) (New York and Washington D.C.: MacMillan Digital in cooperation with the National Museum of American Art, 1996)

Additional Biographies

Luce Artist Biography

Gertrude Lathrop grew up in a home full of artists. Her mother, Ida, was a painter, and her sister Dorothy was a noted writer and illustrator of children's books. Both Gertrude and Dorothy loved animals and would often portray the same creature at the same time, Gertrude in clay and Dorothy on paper. Gertrude especially enjoyed modeling young domestic animals, which offered her an "almost endless . . . variety" of subjects. She was also known for her efforts to protect the environment and created an award-winning medal in 1938 to encourage wildlife conservation. That medal is also on view in the Luce Center (see 1972.167.40).