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Thomas Wilmer Dewing

Lady in White
about 1895
14 1/2 x 11 1/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Howard Page Cross

Thomas Dewing's Lady in White is a patrician feminine type, her body slender, delicate, and refined. Her chaste beauty and intelligent face emphasize her intellectual and spiritual traits with no hint of sensual or emotional qualities. Placed in a relatively empty interior, she is an aesthetic object to be admired and contemplated as she maintains an emotional distance from the viewer. Dewing's ideal woman preserved the values of America's upper-middle class society during the Gilded Age, a period that experienced increased immigration from southern and eastern Europe as well as the pressures of modern life.