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Abbott Handerson Thayer

Head of Mary B. Thayer
1897
charcoal, pencil, and wash
17 x 12 7/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John Gellatly

The artist's daughter, Mary B. Thayer, was one of his favorite models. In the late 1880s, Thayer began painting his three children as idealized models of perfection in classically inspired compositions. He often used Mary as a model for his paintings of angels and madonnas, further idealizing her features as the embodiment of transcendent spirituality. The hood in this drawing suggests that it was a study for a madonna figure. The inscription reveals that it was drawn in Dublin, New Hampshire, where the Thayer family spent summers, until Abbott Thayer settled there permanently in 1901.