Portrait of a Lady

  • Unidentified (French), Portrait of a Lady, ca. 1775, watercolor on ivory, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Catherine Walden Myer Fund, 1954.6.5

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In this miniature the woman’s sparkling blue eyes draw us into the image. Her hairstyle reflects the French vogue for elaborately teased and “built-up” hair. In a letter from 1783, Thomas Jefferson noted that the simpler colonial styles made a woman’s head “as flat as a flounder.” The sitter imitated European fashions to convey her wealth and status, at a time when many colonial Americans were adopting a plainer style to express their desire for independence.

Title
Portrait of a Lady
Artist
Date
ca. 1775
On View
Not on view.
Dimensions
2 3/8 in. (6.0 cm) diam.
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum purchase through the Catherine Walden Myer Fund

Mediums
Mediums Description
watercolor on ivory
Classifications
Keywords
  • Portrait female – unidentified – bust
Object Number
1954.6.5
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI