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Dr. William Henry Holmes

1928 Alyn Williams Born: Wrexham, Wales 1865 Died: 1955 watercolor and pencil on paper sight 5 5/8 x 4 in. (14.3 x 10.2 cm) rectangle Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the artist 1931.2.11 Not currently on view

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“Dr. Holmes was always sparse in physique and seemingly delicate, but his agility was remarkable. In mountain climbing no one could keep up with him . . . He was never too busy to be polite, but he was always busy.” Walter Hough, American Anthropologist, 1933

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In 1920, William Henry Holmes became the first director of the first National Gallery of Art, now the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He was an accomplished anthropologist, archaeologist, artist, and geologist. Holmes’s many talents made him indispensable on many archaeological expeditions to New Mexico, Arizona, Mexico, and South America. When the artist presented this miniature as a gift to the Museum, Holmes conveyed his gratitude in a letter to Williams, saying, “your generous thoughtfulness thus enables me to leave in the National Gallery of Art my only portrait other than those by photograph.”


Occupation - medicine - doctor

Portrait male - Holmes, William Henry, Dr. - bust

painting - miniature

paint - watercolor



About Alyn Williams

Born: Wrexham, Wales 1865 Died: 1955

More works in the collection by
Alyn Williams