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The Sisters

1903 Frank von der Lancken Born: Brooklyn, New York 1872 Died: Tulsa, Oklahoma 1950 oil on canvas 15 7/8 x 13 in. (40.2 x 33.0 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Julian and Carl von der Lancken 1975.93.1 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 15A

Luce Center Label

Frank von der Lancken spent summers in New Milford, Connecticut, from around 1900 until 1904. The fresh air and slower pace offered a welcome break from the pressure of exhibiting and teaching in New York City. This portrait of his mother and aunt shows the two French sisters quietly sewing in the cool shade of a porch, the sun-drenched Connecticut fields behind them. The composition allowed von der Lancken to show off his skills at both landscape and figural painting. The scene of women sewing on the porch of a tidy, well-built farmhouse highlighted the artist’s belief in craft. Von der Lancken taught at many progressive art schools, where his teaching was inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement’s revival of traditional techniques.


Architecture - detail - porch

Figure group - family - siblings

Landscape - farm

Occupation - domestic - sewing


paint - oil

fabric - canvas