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Alma

ca. 1895-1900 Thomas Wilmer Dewing Born: Boston, Massachusetts 1851 Died: New York, New York 1938 oil on wood 20 x 15 5/8 in. (50.7 x 39.6 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of John Gellatly 1929.6.35 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 6A


Luce Center Label

Thomas Wilmer Dewing fancied intellectual, witty women and once wrote that all he ever required of his models was that they have “brains”; his wife, Maria, believed his favorite types of women possessed a “delicacy of form” that amplified their spirituality and intellect. Alma Allen was one such model, and in this portrait Dewing emphasized these traits by focusing on her long neck and pensive expression, rather than the curves of her body or the texture of her dress. (Pyne, Art and the Higher Life: Painting and Evolutionary Thought in Nineteenth-century America, 1996)

Keywords

Portrait female - Allen, Alma - waist length

painting

paint - oil

wood