Larger Type
Smaller Type

Search Collections

La Petite Pensee

modeled ca. 1867 Thomas Ball Born: Charlestown, Massachusetts 1819 Died: Montclair, New Jersey 1911 marble 15 5/8 x 12 7/8 x 8 3/4 in. (39.7 x 32.7 x 22.2 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase 1973.56 Smithsonian American Art Museum
2nd Floor, East Wing


Luce Center Quote

“. . . the little head ‘La Petite Pensée’ . . . has had such a wonderful success.” Thomas Ball, My Fourscore Years

Luce Center Label

Thomas Ball’s eight-year-old niece, Annie Chickering, posed for this sculpture in the late 1860s. The figure appears deep in thought, gazing down at the pansies and lilies on her bodice. The title of the piece is likely a pun combining the words “pansy” and pensée, which means “thought.” The sculpture also illustrates a line from act 4 of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, in which Ophelia says to Laertes: “. . . and there is pansies, that’s for thoughts.”

Keywords

Figure female - child - bust

State of being - mood - meditation

sculpture

stone - marble

carved

About Thomas Ball

Born: Charlestown, Massachusetts 1819 Died: Montclair, New Jersey 1911

More works in the collection by
Thomas Ball