Brother and Sister (Mary and Gerald Thayer)

  • Abbott Handerson Thayer, Brother and Sister (Mary and Gerald Thayer), 1889, oil, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John Gellatly, 1929.6.114

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This work portrays Abbott Thayer's children one year after their mother's hospitalization for "melancholia," or severe depression. Kate Thayer became physically ill while hospitalized, and Thayer wrote to a friend that her physical deterioration would not be so horrible "were her soul visible" (Anderson, Abbott Handerson Thayer, 1982). Thayer captured the sadness and worry of this difficult period in Mary's heavy-lidded, watery eyes and in Gerald’s searching expression. They look like a modern-day Madonna and Child.
Title
Brother and Sister (Mary and Gerald Thayer)
Artists
Date
1889
On View
Not on view.
Dimensions
36 1/4 x 28 1/4 in. (92 x 71.9 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of John Gellatly

Mediums
Classifications
Keywords
  • Children
  • Portrait male – Thayer, Gerald – knee length
  • Portrait male – Thayer, Gerald – child
  • Portrait female – Thayer, Mary – waist length
  • Portrait female – Thayer, Mary – child
  • Portrait group – family – siblings
Object Number
1929.6.114
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI