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Mother (Annie Williams Gandy)

ca. 1903 Thomas Eakins Born: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1844 Died: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1916 oil on canvas 24 x 20 in. (61.0 x 50.8 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Mrs. Lucy G. Rodman through her sister Miss Helen W. Gandy 1961.11.12 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 2A


Luce Center Label

Annie Williams Gandy, affectionately nicknamed “Mother,” was a close friend of Thomas Eakins and his wife. One critic noted Eakins’s ability to capture an expression in which “mere thinking is portrayed without the aid of gesture or attitude.” (Simpson, “The 1880s,” Thomas Eakins, 2002) Here, Eakins enlists the viewer in an intimate, pensive moment, portraying Annie in a morning coat and braids to suggest that she has just risen from bed. While the subject of women lost in reverie was fashionable at the turn of the twentieth century, most artists chose to idealize their sitters. Eakins, on the other hand, did not disguise their blemishes and “worry lines,” and many people considered his portraits to be unflattering. (Perry, Women on the Verge: The Culture of Neurasthenia in Nineteenth-century America, 2004)

Keywords

Portrait female - Gandy, Annie Williams - bust

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas