OUT OF THE BACKGROUND: CECILIA BEAUX AND THE ART OF PORTRAITURE

By Tara Leigh Tappert

copyright, 1994



 

Illustrations with Captions

 

Chapter 1
 
1 Jean Adolphe Beaux married Cecilia Leavitt in New York in April 1850, and within five years their three daughters were born.
 
Jean Adolphe Beaux and Cecilia Leavitt, photograph, circa 1850. Peter Juley Collection, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
 
2 Aimée Ernesta (Etta) and Eliza Cecilia (Leilie) Beaux were five and two when their father returned to Philadelphia after a two year absence.
 
Aimée Ernesta and Eliza Cecilia Beaux, photograph, 1858. Illustrated in Henry S. Drinker, History of the Drinker Family. Philadelphia: Privately Printed, 1961.
 
3 The landscape drawings that Eliza Leavitt made were undoubtedly an influence on her niece.
 
Landscape by Eliza Leavitt, graphite on paper, 1852. Cecilia D. Staltonstall.
 
4 The most important person in the life of young Leilie Beaux was her grandmother, Cecilia (Kent) Leavitt.
 
Cecilia Kent Leavitt, photograph, circa 1850s. Cecilia D. Saltonstall.
 
5 Eliza Smith Leavitt, a gifted musician and teacher, became a significant role model for her niece Leilie.
 
Eliza Smith Leavitt, photograph, circa 1860s. Cecilia D. Saltonstall.
 
6 Emily Austin Leavitt was responsible for schooling the Beaux sisters. Her marriage to William Foster Biddle was not only a felicitous union, but was also a stabilizing force for the rest of the family.
 
Emily Austin Leavitt and William Foster Biddle, photograph, circa 1860. Archives, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.
 
7 At twelve, Leilie's tempestuous and passionate spirit was already apparent.
 
Cecilia Beaux, age twelve, photograph, 1867. Cecilia B. Saltonstall.
 
 
 
Chapter 2
 
8 When Leilie was a child music sustained the family and Will Biddle often enlivened the evenings playing the new compositions that he brought home.
 
William Foster Biddle, photograph, circa 1890. Cecilia D. Saltonstall.
 
9 Catharine Ann Drinker, Leilie's first art teacher, became a lifelong friend.
 
Catharine Ann Drinker, photograph, circa 1870s. Illustrated in Henry S. Drinker, History of the Drinker Family. Philadelphia: Privately printed, 1961.
 
10 Catharine Ann Drinker worked in a style fashionable in mid-nineteenth century England.
 
Old Fashioned Music or The Guitar Player, by Catharine Ann (Drinker) Janvier, oil on canvas, (30 x 40 in.). Neville-Strass Collection, Reston, Virginia.
 
11 Leilie supplemented her training at the Van der Wielen School by filling notebooks with typical drawing book assignments.
 
Landscape, graphite on paper, 28.6 x 24.1 cm (11 1/4 x 9 1/2 in.), circa 1880s. Private collection.
 
 
Chapter 3
 
12 Cecilia's lithograph of The Brighton Cats was her first published work.
The Brighton Cats, lithograph on white paper, 33 x 48.3 cm (13 x 19 in.), 1874. Mary
Eliza Drinker Scudder and Thayer Scudder.
 
13 Cecilia produced lithographic drawings of fossils for the paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope.
 
Cionondon Arctatus, lithograph on paper, 1875. Illustrated in Ferdinand V. Hayden, Report of the United States Geological Survey of the Territories, Vol. 2, Department of the Interior. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1875.
 
14 When Cecilia first began her career she worked in a variety of decorative arts media including china painting. She had taken a month of lessons, in March 1879, from the noted French ceramist Camille Piton, who was then living in Philadelphia. Cecilia quickly adapted her training to portraiture by painting nearly life-sized heads of children on large china plates. Their success was such that "parents nearly wept over" them. Cecilia hoped the china paintings that she made would wear out "their suspending wires" and be "dashed to pieces." Clara Hoopes, a West Philadelphia neighbor, asked Cecilia to make a china plate based on an old daugerreotype taken in 1853 when she was eight years old.
 
Clara Hoopes, oil on porcelain, approximately 31.8 cm (12 1/2 in.) diameter, 1882. Mrs. Elizabeth Arthur.
 
15 Cecilia sent a whimsical poem and drawing of her four year old nephew Henry to St. Nicholas, An Illustrated Magazine for Young Folks.
 
"Uncle John's Coat," (Henry Sandwith Drinker), illustration, circa 1884. Illustrated in St. Nicholas, An Illustrated Magazine for Young Folks, January, 1885. Library of Congress.
 
16 The stark background and precise rendering in some of Cecilia's earliest drawings of children indicate her awareness of studio portrait photography.
 
Margaretta Morris, graphite on paper, 1884. Mrs. Thomas J. Gay, Jr., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Archives, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.
 
17 Cecilia was still struggling with the mastery of anatomy and balance of the figure when she created the pastel and watercolor of young Edmund James Drifton Coxe.
 
Edmund James Drifton Coxe, watercolor and pastel on paper, 61.3 x 47 cm (24 1/8 x 18 1/2 in.), 1886. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; gift of Maria M. Skinner (1992.6).
 
18 Cecilia was especially proud of her portrait of Harold and Mildred Colton as she had the painting photographed in her studio when it was completed.
 
Cecilia Beaux's studio with the Colton painting on the easel, photograph, circa 1886 - 1887. Cecilia D. Saltonstall.
 
19 While painted from life, the portrait of Fanny Travis Cochran was also influenced by the traditions of portrait photography.
 
A Little Girl (Fanny Travis Cochran), oil on canvas, 90.2 x 72.4 cm (35 1/2 x 28 1/2 in.), 1887. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; gift of Fanny Travis Cochran (1955.12).
 
20 During the course of Cecilia's career she painted several posthumous portraits based on photographs. One of the earliest was of a sixteen year old girl from Washington, Connecticut.
 
Jeannie Van Ingen, watercolor, 38.1 x 33 cm (15 x 13 in.), 1884. Location unknown. Archives, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.
 
21 Cecilia was taken with the legend of Elaine and may have seen the Rosenthal painting at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition in 1876.
 
Elaine by Tobias Edward Rosenthal, oil on canvas, 97.2 x 158.1 cm (38 1/4 x 62 1/4 in.), 1874. The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; gift of Mrs. Maurice Rosenfeld (1917.3).
 
22 Cecilia's velvety charcoal drawing of Thomas Allibone Janvier was made years after his marriage to Catharine Ann Drinker.
 
Thomas Allibone Janvier, charcoal drawing on beige paper, 49.5 x 34.3 cm (19 1/2 x 13 1/2 in.), before 1913. The Century Association, New York, New York.
 
23 Henry Sturgis Drinker was the younger brother of Cecilia's first art teacher. He became interested in her sister Etta after Cecilia refused his marriage proposal.
 
Henry Sturgis Drinker, photograph, circa 1870s. Illustrated in Henry S. Drinker, History of the Drinker Family. Philadelphia: Privately printed, 1961.
 
24 By the time the Beaux sisters were in their early twenties their divergent interests and expectations were equipping them for compatible but very different sort of lives.
 
The Beaux sisters, photograph, circa 1870s. Illustrated in Henry S. Drinker, History of the Drinker Family. Philadelphia: Privately printed, 1961.
 
 
Chapter 4
 
25 The cool and detached atmosphere of the Antique Class at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts suited Cecilia's approach to the study of anatomy.
 
Torso Belvedere, charcoal drawing on white paper, 14 x 10.2 cm (5 1/2 x 4 in.), March 25, 1877. Illustrated in Cecilia Beaux: Portrait of an Artist. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1974.
 
26 While still under the infrequent tutelage of William Sartain, Cecilia painted a double portrait of her sister Etta, and her first-born nephew Henry, that was destined to become her single most important work of the 1880s. The portrait, a contrived and imaginative image filled with family heirlooms, makeshift furniture, moveable panelling, and an illusion of costume, is a picture that signifies the different life paths of the two Beaux sisters. By capturing the "last days of infancy," in the wistful looks of both mother and child, the young career-minded artist documents her sister's traditional and maternal life. Shortly after it was completed the painting was exhibited in both New York and Philadelphia. It was awarded the Mary Smith Prize, at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, in 1885.
 
Les derniers jours d'enfance (Aimée Ernesta and Henry Sandwith Drinker), oil on canvas, 116.2 x 137.2 cm (45 3/4 x 54 in.), 1883 - 1885. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; anonymous partial gift (1989.21).
 
27 Cecilia undoubtedly saw Whistler's Portrait of the Artist's Mother when it was exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1881.
 
Portrait of the Artist's Mother: Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 by James McNeil Whistler, oil on canvas, 144.8 x 163.8 cm (57 x 64 1/2 in.), 1871. Museé d'Orsay, Paris, France.
 
 
Chapter 5
 
28 Cecilia's first self-portrait, painted when she was just eighteen years old, shows a pretty and determined girl.
 
Self-Portrait #1, oil on cardboard, 30.5 x 25.4 cm (12 x 10 in.), circa 1872 - 1873. Cecilia D. Saltonstall.
 
29 Cecilia's painting of Ethel Nelson Page was her "first portrait entirely from life without criticism."
 
Ethel Nelson Page, oil on canvas, 76.2 x 63.5 cm (30 x 25 in.), 1883 - 84. National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.
 
30 Seated in her studio in front of her painting the smiling Ethel Page poses for Cecilia.
 
Ethel Page poses for Cecilia, photograph, circa 1883 - 1884. Illustrated in Henry S. Drinker, History of the Drinker Family. Philadelphia: Privately printed, 1961.
 
31 During the 1880s and early 1890s Cecilia shared a studio with her younger cousin Emma Leavitt.
 
Cecilia Beaux and Emma Leavitt in their studio, photograph, mid-1880s. Cecilia D. Saltonstall.
 
32 Cecilia met Ethel Nelson Page in 1876, when she was just eleven years old. As the lovely child matured into a beautiful young woman, Cecilia asked her to pose for her. Throughout the 1880s, she painted several portraits of Ethel, the second of which showed the girl as the ethereal water nymph Undine, who according to European folklore could obtain a soul by marrying a mortal and bearing a child. The painting was exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1886, where it was awarded the Mary Smith Prize, the second time in two years that Cecilia had been so honored.
 
Ethel Page as Undine, oil on canvas, 96.5 x 77.5 cm (38 x 30 1/2 in.), 1885. Vidal S. Clay.
 
33 George Burnham was already aware of Cecilia's artistic abilities, when he asked her to travel to Lake George, to paint his portrait during the summer of 1886. The young artist had produced a china plate for his wife, and had fulfilled a commission that Burnham had secured for her, painting the portrait of the Reverend Chauncy Giles, the minister of the First Swedenborgian Church of Philadelphia, where Burnham was a prominent member.
 
George Burnham, oil on canvas, 119.4 x 102.6 cm (47 x 40 3/8 in.), 1886. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; gift of Mrs. George Burnham, III (1986.17.1).
 
34 Cecilia made a number of portraits of her beloved grandmother Leavitt but this was the only full scale painting.
 
Mrs. John Wheeler Leavitt (Cecilia Kent), oil on canvas, 115.6 x 87.6 cm (45 1/2 x 34 in.), 1885. Mary Eliza Drinker Scudder and Thayer Scudder.
 
35 The critics described Cecilia's portrait of George M. Troutman as a strong "representation of an alert, energetic, and enterprising man of business."
 
George M. Troutman, oil on canvas, 123.2 x 97.8 cm (48 1/2 x 38 1/4 in.), 1886. Richard York Gallery, New York City.
 
36 By the time Cecilia painted the portrait of Reverend William Henry Furness she was already considered one of Philadelphia's best portrait painters.
 
Reverend William Henry Furness, oil on canvas, 96.5 x 119.4 cm (38 x 47 in.), 1886. First Unitarian Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
 
 
Chapter 6
 
37 Cecilia and her cousin May Whitlock sailed to Europe in January 1888 on board a Red Star steamer called the Nordland.
 
Cecilia Beaux and May Whitlock, photograph, January, 1888. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
 
38 Cecilia had the opportunity to improve her skills in drawing anatomy when she worked in a life class at the Académie Julian in Paris.
 
Figure study - standing male model, graphite on paper, 1888 - 1889. Cecilia D. Saltonstall.
 
39 During the 1880s a number of American artists regularly gathered in the summer art colony at Concarneau on the Brittany coast.
 
The summer art colony at Concarneau. Cecilia is wearing a tam and is seated to the far left, unidentified photographer, albumen print, 1888. Archives, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; gift of Robert Bahssin.
 
40 The paintings Cecilia made of the Breton peasant women helped further solidify her interest in portraiture.
 
Young Peasant Girl, oil on unknown support, 1888. Location unknown. Archives, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.
 
41 While many artists came to Brittany to paint the peasants in the context of the folk culture of the region, Cecilia was interested in painting the peasant women in order to develop her own approach to plein air painting, and to augment her skills of portrayal. Her "two heads" picture began as a plein air painting exercise, made from studies executed at a certain time of day, but soon expanded to a depiction of the unique features of her models. One of the two women who posed for the painting was named Marguerite, and Cecilia described her as "the broad rough type, eyes very far apart. She looks like a cow, but when you come to draw her you find her 'bony structure'...sound and fine and...she is distinguished." The young art student concluded: "my two women are teaching me a great deal. Even if they are not a success they will have done much for me."
 
Twilight Confidences, oil on canvas, 1888. Dr. and Mrs. Joseph M. Smolev.
 
42 T. Alexander Harrison posed eight times for Cecilia, and even though he was patient and encouraging, she found him "hard to do."
Thomas Harrison Alexander, oil on canvas, 66 x 50.2 cm (26 x 19 3/4 in.), 1888. Private collection.
 
43 Cecilia's oil sketch of a brunette model with a wizened face on a pale pink background was critiqued by Benjamin Constant, while she was a student at the Académie Julian.
Head of a Woman, oil study on canvas, 40.6 x 32.7 cm (16 x 12 7/8 in.), 1889. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; gift of Henry Sandwith Drinker (1950.17.4).
 
44 While on a short holiday in Cambridge, England, the quick sketch Cecilia made of her friend Maud Darwin's son Charles brought requests for several portrait commissions.
Charles Galton Darwin, graphite on paper, 38.1 x 30.5 cm (15 x 12 in.), June 7, 1889. Private collection. Archives, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.
 
45 Cecilia found pastel to be an especially good medium for women's portraits, and she used it during the summer of 1889 when she completed the picture of her old Philadelphia friend, Maud Darwin. The portrait was created in the garden under the great copper beech tree at Newnham Grange, Maud's home in Cambridge, England.
 
Lady George Darwin (Maud DuPuy), pastel on paper, 48.3 x 34.3 cm (19 x 13 1/2 in.), 1889. Mrs. Cecily Darwin Littleton.
 
 
Chapter 7
 
46 Cecilia was a stunningly beautiful and intelligent young woman with an ability to attract scores of admirers.
 
Cecilia Beaux, photograph, 12.1 x 17.1 cm (4 3/4 x 6 3/4 in.), circa 1880s. Cecilia D. Saltonstall.
 
47 While the painting of Louise Kinsella is lost and has never been reproduced, Whistler's The Lady with the Yellow Buskin may suggest what Cecilia's portrait may have looked like.
 
Arrangement in Black: The Lady with the Yellow Buskin (Lady Archibald Campbell) by James Abbott McNeil Whistler, oil on canvas, 218.4 x 110.5 cm (86 x 43 1/2 in.), circa 1883. The W. P. Wilstach Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania (W' 95-1-11).
 
48 The parting lovers depicted in Millais's painting The Huguenot spoke to Cecilia's conflicted feelings as she settled her romance with Edwin Swift Balch.
 
The Huguenot: Eve of St. Bartholomew's Day, 1572, by Thomas O. Barlow after Sir John Everett Millais, engraving and mezzotint, 54.6 x 44.5 cm (21 1/2 x 17 1/2 in.), 1857. Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut; Paul Mellon Fund.
 
49 The lithograph showing Henry Waldegrave holding the body of his dead wife Gertrude illustrates the story told in Thomas Campbell's epic stanza Gertrude of Wyoming. The poem addressed Cecilia's concern that the consequence of love and marriage for a woman was death.
 
The Death of Gertrude of Wyoming, lithograph, illustrated in William L. Stone, The Poetry and History of Wyoming: containing Campbell's Gertude with a Biographical Sketch of the author, by Washington Irving, and the History of Wyoming, from the Discovery to the Present Century. New York: Wiley and Putnam, 1841.
 
50 Cecilia's portrait of Louise Kinsella was influenced by the contemporary fascination with classical beauty, which was considered grand and asexual, and which found expression in the work of such English Aesthetic artists as Sir Frederic Leighton.
 
The Last Watch of Hero, with predella, Leander Drowned by Sir Frederic Leighton, oil on canvas, 160 x 91.8 cm (63 1/8 x 36 1/8 in.); predella 33.3 x 76.5 cm (13 1/8 x 30 1/8 in.), circa 1887. City of Manchester Art Galleries, England.
 
51 In the 1880s the roles of romanticized sensuality played by the blond-haired, white-skinned American stage actress Lillian Russell made her a symbol of sensual purity with innocence as the major ingredient of her beauty. Such contemporary attitudes regarding beautiful blond-haired women are imbedded in Cecilia's portrait of Louise Kinsella.
 
Lillian Russell by Benjamin J. Falk, photograph, albumen silver print, 14.6 x 9.8 cm (5 3/4 x 3 7/8 in.), circa 1886. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; NPG.77.360.
 
52 Cecilia Beaux and New Haven lawyer George Dudley Seymour had been close platonic friends for more than thirteen years when she sketched his portrait in 1903. Her first drawing of him was made on the fly leaf of a book, when she met him on board the Anchovia, during her return voyage to America, following a year and a half of art training in Europe.
 
George Dudley Seymour, pencil and charcoal on tan cardboard, 47.3 x 36.8 cm (18 5/8 x 14 1/2 in.), 1903. Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut; gift of Mrs. Edward Ingraham (1972.56.5).
 
 
Chapter 8
 
53 In a letter written to Cecilia while she was in Paris, Etta described young Henry's concentration as he practiced the piano. Her depiction was later the inspiration for Beaux's pastel of her nephew.
 
Henry at the Piano (Henry Sandwith Drinker), pastel on paper, 53.3 x 27.9 cm (21 x 11 in.), 1889. Mrs. Pemberton (Priscilla) Drinker.
 
54 Cecilia painted numerous portraits of her sister Etta's children, and while they were first an expression of familial devotion, they also incorporated the most innovative techniques then displayed in American grand-manner portraiture. Cecil Kent Drinker was four years old when he posed to his aunt. When Cecilia exhibited the painting in 1892, it was the first time her work was seriously compared to that of John Singer Sargent. According to one art critic her portrait of Cecil both suggested and equaled Sargent's picture of little Beatrice Goelet.
 
Cecil (Cecil Kent Drinker), oil on canvas, 162.6 x 87.6 cm (64 x 34 1/2 in.), 1891. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; Purchased, Joseph E. Temple Fund (66-110-1).
 
55 Cecilia painted her sister in a dreamy and contemplative pose.
 
Mrs. Henry Sturgis Drinker (Aimée Ernesta Beaux), oil on canvas, 64.8 x 49.5 cm (25 1/2 x 19 1/2 in.), 1891. Mrs. Mary S. Drinker.
 
56 In 1892, as a memorial of their friendship, Cecilia and Rosina Emmet Sherwood painted portraits for each other. Rosina painted Cecilia with her palette and brushes, and Cecilia painted Rosina's oldest daughter, Cynthia.
 
Cynthia Sherwood, oil sketch on canvas, 61 x 44.5 cm (24 x 17 1/2 in.), 1892. Hevrdejs collection.
 
57 Cecilia's beautiful niece Ernesta first posed for her aunt when she was two years old. In 1896 the painting was awarded a third place bronze medal at the Carnegie Art Institute's first international exhibition.
 
Ernesta Drinker (Child with Nurse), oil on canvas, 128.3 x 96.8 cm (50 1/2 x 38 1/8 in.), 1894. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York; Maria De Witt Jesup Fund 1965 (65.49).
 
58 In the early 1890s, when Matthew Blackburne Grier, a retired Presbyterian clergyman and former editor of The Presbyterian, lived in West Philadelphia, just a few doors away from Cecilia's family, she asked him to pose for her. The portrait Cecilia painted was awarded the Philadelphia Art Club's Gold Medal in 1893, and it was also a touted entry in the 1896 Champ de Mars exhibition in Paris.
 
Reverend Matthew Blackburne Grier, oil on canvas, mounted on plywood, 124.5 x 73.7 cm (49 x 29 in.), 1891 - 1892. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; gift of Anne Farr Bartol (1961.10).
 
59 The portrait of Mrs. George W. Childs Drexel was just one of the many stunning portrayals of attractive upper-class Philadelphia society women created by Cecilia in the 1890s.
 
Mrs. George W. Childs Drexel (Mary S. Irick), oil on canvas, 86.4 x 68.6 cm (34 x 27 in.), 1894. Sally Stretch Keen Memorial Library, Vincentown, New Jersey.
 
60 In May 1894 Cecilia was elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design. Her admission was contingent on her submission of a portrait of herself, to be added to the Academy's permanent collection. At thirty-nine Cecilia created a self-portrait that was a self-contained and focused depiction, an image that emphasized her beauty and sense of professional commitment.
 
Self-Portrait #3, oil on canvas remounted on masonite, 63.5 x 50.8 cm (25 x 20 in.), 1894. National Academy of Design, New York City.
 
61 Cecilia was still struggling with the issues surrounding feminine beauty, intelligence, and sensuality when she painted the portrait of her Philadelphia friend, Caroline Kilby Smith. While Caroline's dark hair, dark eyes, and regular features fit Cecilia's physical archetype of beauty, the image the artist created of her communicated a disquieting psychological message. The painting was seen as a "strange work of unsimple simplicity," in which "the life-expression from the figure" was regarded as "nervous and almost noisy in its seeming repose."
 
The Dreamer (Caroline Kilby Smith), oil on canvas, 83.8 x 63.5 cm (33 x 25 in.), 1894. The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio.
 
62 The portrait of Cecilia's cousin, Sarah Allibone Leavitt, was a puzzling and enigmatic companion piece to the painting of Caroline Kilby Smith. By titling the portrait Sita and Sarita, the artist left the identity of the woman and the cat in perpetual ambiguity. When Cecilia sent Sita and Sarita and The Dreamer to the 1896 Champ de Mars exhibition in Paris, the paintings became international icons of the American girl, and Beaux's artistic reputation escalated to an international level.
 
Sita and Sarita (Sarah Allibone Leavitt), oil on canvas, 95 x 63.8 cm (37 3/8 x 25 1/8 in.), 1894. Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France; gift of Cecilia Beaux.
 
63 Cecilia's portrait of her second cousin, Julia Leavitt Richards, was painted during the summer of 1895, in the bedroom of Julia's Washington, Connecticut home. The portrait commemorated the memory of Cecilia's Grandmother Leavitt, but it was also a memorial to the faithful and attentive life of her cousin Julia. Technically, the picture was one of the artist's finest white paintings, and imagistically it was her quintessential expression of selfless devotion and old fashioned values.
 
New England Woman (Mrs. Jedediah Huntington Richards), oil on canvas, 109.2 x 61.6 cm (43 x 24 1/4 in.), 1895. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Joseph E. Temple Fund (1897.1).
 
64 Anna Scott was the wife of the President of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The portrait Cecilia painted of her benefited from the lessons of New England Woman. Both paintings are filled with colonial furnishings, thus suggesting not only the contemporary appeal for "colonial revival," but also the idea that the type of woman so surrounded was an American who held old fashioned values and was of the finest breeding and ancestry.
 
Mrs. Thomas A. Scott (Anna Riddle), oil on canvas, 121.9 x 94 cm (48 x 37 in.), 1897. Private collection.
65 Cecilia's portrait of Dr. John Shaw Billings added to her repertoire of distinguished professional men.
 
Dr. John Shaw Billings, oil on canvas, 195.6 x 132.1 cm (77 x 52 in.), 1895. National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland.
 
 
Chapter 9
 
66 Mary Dickinson Scott was the daughter of Thomas and Anna Scott. Cecilia's portrait of her may have been a bridal picture, as it was painted shortly before her marriage to Clement Buckley Newbold. The wealthy Scotts and Newbolds were dedicated collectors of contemporary art and both families were considered among the "ultra-fashionable" of Philadelphia. Cecilia's sumptuous and elegant depiction of Mary, as a sophisticated society hostess, acknowledged the young woman's position in society and fulfilled family expectations for a portrayal that displayed the finest current styles.
 
Mrs. Clement Buckley Newbold (Mary Dickinson Scott), oil on canvas, 199.4 x 121.9 cm (78 1/2 x 48 in.), 1896. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; gift of Clement B. Newbold (1973.25.2).
 
67 Anna Fisher had been one of Mary Scott Newbold's bridesmaids. Undoubtedly her family had seen Cecilia's two portraits of the Scotts. As Cecilia painted Anna's portrait, she described the young woman as "the Venus de Milo -- really -- five foot eleven, tight ripples of gold for hair." Cecilia's genteel classical portrayal captures Anna's height and exudes an Amazonian sense of vitality.
 
Anna Fisher, oil on canvas, 111.8 x 76.2 cm (44 x 30 in.), 1898. George H. Hart.
 
68 Cecilia's commission to paint a portrait of the wife and son of fellow Philadelphia portraitist Beauveau Borie indicates how well she was regarded by her colleagues.
Mother and Son (Mrs. Beauveau Borie and her son Adolphe), oil on canvas, 145.4 x 101.6 cm (57 1/4 x 40 in.), 1896. Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas (1985.303).
 
69 Cecilia's double portrait of her five-year-old niece Ernesta, and two-year-old nephew Philip, was painted in the Drinker's Haverford, Pennsylvania home. By focusing on the relationship between an older sister and younger brother, Cecilia created a portrait that was seen as an "episode of child-life...with real dramatic effect." It was regarded as the successful blending of portraiture and "pictorial effect."
 
Sister and Brother (Ernesta and Philip Drinker), oil on canvas, 175.3 x 111.8 cm (69 x 44 in.), 1897. Melinda and Paul Sullivan.
 
70 While Cecilia attempted to create the illusion of a making spontaneous and quickly brushed images, she was in fact a slow and methodical painter. The Henry girls were well aware of the artist's deliberate pace, as they posed to Cecilia for eight months, two days a week.
 
Gertrude and Elizabeth Henry, oil on canvas, 162.6 x 94.6 cm (64 x 37 1/4 in.), 1898 - 1899. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; funds provided by the descendants and relatives of Gertrude and Elizabeth Henry and by the Pennsylvania Academy (1986.9).
 
71 Beaux was a frequent juror for the annual international exhibitions at the Carnegie Art Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For years she was the only woman to serve, as was the case in 1899 when she worked with -- top left to right: W. Elmer Schofield, Anders Zorn, and Frank Duveneck; bottom left to right: John Beatty, William Merritt Chase, Cecilia Beaux, Edmund Tarbell, J. Alden Weir, Mr. English, and unknown.
 
1899 Carnegie Art Institute Jury, photograph, 1899. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
 
72 Cecilia painted Mrs. Robert Abbe in a white satin evening gown with black jet embroidery, and described her sitter to Helena Gilder, noting that "the mold that Mrs. A was run in, nature found so popular that she never broke it."
 
Mrs. Robert Abbe (Katherine Amory Bennett, then Mrs. Courtlandt Palmer), oil on canvas, 188 x 99.1 cm (74 x 39 in.), 1898 - 1899. Schweitzer Gallery, Inc. New York City.
 
73 The commission from Mr. and Mrs. Anson Phelps Stokes was Cecilia's first in New York and its success led to her decision to establish a studio there.
 
Mr. and Mrs. Anson Phelps Stokes, oil on canvas, 182.5 x 101.3 cm (71 1/16 x 39 7/8 in.), 1898. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City; gift of the family of the Reverend and Mrs. Anson Phelps Stokes, 1965.
 
74 Cecilia made a number of paintings and drawings of the Gilder family in 1897 including an exquisite charcoal sketch of little Francesca.
 
Francesca with a Kitten (Francesca Gilder), charcoal on paper, 50.8 x 38.7 cm (20 x 15 1/2 in.), 1897. Private collection.
 
75 The Gilders became like a second family to Cecilia, and the affection that she felt for them was often expressed artistically. In the fall of 1898, in a barn at the Gilder's farm in the Massachusetts Berkshires, Cecilia created a portrait of the two oldest girls performing a simple dance. With a theme of "abandonment of youthful glee," expressed through artistic movement, Dorothea and Francesca became as popular as Ernesta with Nurse.
 
Dorothea and Francesca (Dorothea and Francesca Gilder), oil on canvas, 203.5 x 116.8 cm (80 1/8 x 46 in.), 1898. The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; A. A. Munger Collection (1921.109).
 
76 Cecilia occasionally made portrait sketches for Century Magazine. Her first assignment was in 1898 when she was asked to produce three drawings of Spanish-American war heroes. Commander Richard Wainwright was one of her sitters.
 
Commander Richard Wainwright, graphite on paper, 55.9 x 38.1 cm (22 x 16 in.), 1898. Cape Ann Historical Association Collection, Gloucester, Massachusetts.
 
77 One of Cecilia's most sumptuous portrayals was her painting of the fashionable and prominent Philadelphians Mrs. Clement Griscom and her daughter Frances Canby. From the moment Cecilia began exhibiting the mother and daughter picture, it was highly acclaimed and awarded numerous prizes.
 
Mother and Daughter (Mrs. Clement A. Griscom and her daughter Frances Canby), oil on canvas, 210.8 x 111.8 cm (83 x 44 in.), 1898. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; gift of Frances C. Griscom (1910.15).
 
78 Cecilia met the Chapin family through the Gilders, when she was in London in the spring of 1900. Adele Chapin was suffering from phlebitis and was pregnant at the time, but her enduring sense of spirit and ability to arrange entertaining dinner parties made an impression on Cecilia. The following year the Chapins were back in the States living in Lenox, Massachusetts, not far from the Gilders. That fall Cecilia asked Adele if she could make a quick oil sketch of her and her young daughter. The artist thought it would be interesting to paint them, as Adele was "so vast and old and experienced, and the baby so small and fair and inexperienced."
 
Mrs. Robert Chapin (Adele LeBourgeois Chapin) and daughter Christina, oil sketch on canvas, 88.9 x 69.9 cm (35 x 27 1/2 in.), 1901. Robert W. and Amy Pemberton Chapin.
 
79 Cecilia's portrait of her nephew Henry was a picture in memory of their trip to Holland in 1900 and a tribute to the old master paintings that they saw in the museums there.
 
Henry Sandwith Drinker, oil on canvas, 83.8 x 59.7 cm (33 x 23 1/2 in.), 1901. Alice W. Ballard.
 
80 In the fall of 1899 as three year old Edward Wallace posed for his portrait in Cecilia's new studio in New York, he called the picture "dat fine boy." The artist included it in her 1903 solo exhibition at the Durand-Ruel Galleries in New York City.
 
Edward Seecomb Wallace, oil on canvas, 119.4 x 73.7 cm (47 x 29 in.), 1899. Private collection. Allison Gallery, New York City.
 
81 Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes had first asked Cecilia to paint a portrait of his wife when he had met her in Paris during the summer of 1896, but the artist refused the commission then.
 
Mrs. Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes (Edith Minturn), oil on canvas, 104.1 x 61 cm (104.1 x 61 cm (41 x 24 in.), 1900 - 1901. Mrs. Donald F. Bush.
 
82 When Cecilia exhibited the portrait of Mrs. Larz Anderson, it was dubbed "The Hostess" and her sitter was seen as a representation of "the freshness and animation of youthful womanhood."
 
Mrs. Larz Anderson (Isabel Weld Perkins), oil on canvas, 208.3 x 101.6 cm (82 x 40 in.), 1900 - 1901. The Society of the Cincinnati Anderson House Museum, Washington, D.C.
 
83 By the turn of the century, art critics consistently described the sitters in Cecilia's portraits as the finer types -- people of good breeding who displayed beauty, charm, intellect, and aristocratic dignity. Such attributes would certainly have applied to Mrs. Frederick Otis Barton, the wife of a New York businessman who was also a great-grand daughter of Thomas Jefferson. Mary Barton posed for Cecilia in her New York studio, on Washington Square, and the "serene and composed" depiction the artist created emphasized her sitter's "unflinching heroism." On completion Cecilia considered it "the apple of my eye."
 
Mrs. Frederick Otis Barton (Mary Lowell Coolidge), oil on canvas, 83.8 x 68.6 cm (33 1/2 x 27 in.), 1901. Private collection.
 
84 Anne Douglas Sedgwick was an up-and-coming young writer when Richard Watson Gilder asked Cecilia to sketch her portrait for Century Magazine.
 
Anne Douglas Sedgwick, red-chalk drawing on paper, 48.3 x 35.6 cm (19 x 14 in.), 1902. Gilder and Anne Palmer.
 
85 Edith Kermit Roosevelt admired Cecilia's portrait of the Gilder girls, when she saw it at the opening of the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, in 1901. When she became first lady she asked Cecilia if she would paint a portrait of her. The artist traveled to Washington for the commission, painting the picture in the red dining room at the White House, and developing it into a double portrait that included Edith's daughter, Ethel. The painting soon became one of Cecilia's most publicized commissions, and the friendly relationship she established with the family allowed her to frequently request it for exhibitions.
 
Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt (Edith Kermit Carow) and daughter Ethel, oil on canvas, 113 x 80 cm (44 x 31 1/2 in.), 1902. Sarah Chapman.
 
86 Cecilia's quick sketch of President Roosevelt was made just as she finished the formal portrait of his wife and daughter. This was just one of many occasions when the artist painted a wife and child and sketched a husband.
 
Theodore Roosevelt, charcoal on buff paper, 45.4 x 35.2 cm (17 7/8 x 13 7/8 in.), 1902. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; gift of Henry Sandwith Drinker (1950.17.46).
 
87 Mrs. Alexander Sedgwick and her daughter Christina posed in Cecilia's New York studio. The painting was done con amore and came to life as the artist worked "in a sort of rhythmic union" with her sitters.
 
Mrs. Alexander Sedgwick (Lydia Cameron Rogers) and daughter Christina, oil on canvas, 203.2 x 116.8 cm (80 x 46 in.), 1902. Private collection.
 
88 Cecilia created a surprisingly debonair portrayal of her somewhat rough and tumble forty-eight-year-old brother-in-law, Henry Sturgis Drinker, subduing him on canvas in a brightly colored imaginative scene of domesticated gentility. Comfortably seated on a Windsor chair, Henry offers his lap as a resting place for his pink-eared tangerine tabby, the focal point for the range of color tones displayed in this brilliant white painting.
 
At Home or Man with a Cat (Henry Sturgis Drinker), oil on canvas, 121.9 x 88 cm (48 x 34 5/8 in.), 1898 - 1899. National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Bequest of Henry Ward Ranger through the National Academy of Design (1952.10.1).
 
89 Cecilia's portrait of Richard Watson Gilder was considered a "great and sweet" characterization filled with "affection and understanding." It was deemed successful because "the spirit of the artist" was wonderfully close to "the spirit of the sitter."
 
Richard Watson Gilder, oil on canvas, 116.5 x 87.6 cm (45 7/8 x 34 1/2 in.), 1902 - 1903. Private collection.
 
90 Beaux was a juror for the art exhibition at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition held in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1904.
 
Juror certificate for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, 43.2 x 47 cm (17 x 18 1/2 in.), 1904. Private collection.
 
91 By the time Cecilia painted the portrait of little Harriet Sears Amory, her reputation was such that people from Boston to Washington, D.C., were competing for her time and services.
 
Harriet Sears Amory, oil on canvas, 162.6 x 106.7 cm (64 x 42 in.), 1903. Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts.
 
92 When Cecilia painted the portrait of seven-year-old Jimmy King, she was completing as many commissions as she could handle, in order to meet the mounting expenses of Green Alley, the summer house and studio she was then building on Eastern Point, in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Jimmy King so enjoyed the sittings that he asked his mother if Miss Beaux could paint him every winter.
 
Henry Parsons King, Jr. (Jimmy), oil on canvas, 185.4 x 106.7 cm (73 x 42 in.), 1905. Cape Ann Historical Association, Gloucester, Massachusetts.
 
 
Chapter 10
 
93 In a house on the Haverford College campus in Haverford, Pennsylvania, Henry and Etta Drinker raised a lively family of six children. Jim, Henry Sandwith, Cecil, Ernesta, Aimée Ernesta, Henry Sturgis, Catherine, Philip, and their dog Prince.
 
Henry and Etta Drinker and family, photograph, circa 1900. Illustrated in Henry S. Drinker, History of the Drinker Family. Philadelphia: Privately printed, 1961.
 
94 By 1903, Cecilia was a regular visitor at Red Roof, A. Piatt Andrew's summer home in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
 
Franklin D. Roosevelt, A. Piatt Andrew, Anne D. Blake, two unidentified Harvard students, and Cecilia Beaux on the porch at Red Roof, photograph, 1903. Cecilia Beaux's Green Alley photo album. Cecilia D. Saltonstall.
 
95 When Cecilia made a sketch of Henry Davis Sleeper in 1918, the artist and decorator had been close friends for years.
 
Henry Davis Sleeper, charcoal on paper, 36.8 x 27.9 cm (14 1/2 x 11 in.), 1918. Peter C. Buswell.
 
96 Cecilia met Dallas McGrew, the architect for Green Alley, through Harvard economist, A. Piatt Andrew. Besides building her house and studio McGrew also became a good friend, spending time in Gloucester with both Cecilia at Green Alley and Piatt at Red Roof.
 
Cecilia Beaux, Dallas McGrew, A. Piatt Andrew, and May Whitlock at Red Roof, photograph, circa 1910. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
 
97 At Green Alley, the summer home Cecilia built in Gloucester, she found a peaceful and contented sense of place. There she combined portrait work -- "long, unhurried bouts of painting," and leisure time -- "off hours...spent in delicious air."
 
A view of Green Alley house and studio, photograph. Cecilia Beaux's Green Alley photo album. Cecilia D. Saltonstall.
 
98 Cecilia's house Green Alley was built for friendship.
 
Green Alley, photograph, circa 1910. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
 
99 The studio at Green Alley was built for work.
 
The studio at Green Alley, photograph, circa 1910. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
 
100 Cecilia connected the house and studio with a terraced area that she called "the cloisters" and used the outdoor space to entertain her family and friends.
 
"The Cloisters" at Green Alley, photograph, circa 1908. Cecilia Beaux's Green Alley photo album. Cecilia D. Saltonstall.
 
101 Cecilia connected the village road to her house and studio with narrow allées through the woods.
 
The allées through the woods at Green Alley, photograph, circa 1910. Cecilia D. Saltonstall.
 
102 The interior of Cecilia's studio contained "a sort of bay [that was] treated like a chapel," giving the place "a sense of the lofty impulse of creative labor."
 
The interior of the studio at Green Alley, photograph, circa 1914. Cecilia Beaux's Green Alley photo album. Cecilia D. Saltonstall.
 
103 Cecilia used her living room red lacquer Chippendale settee not only for entertaining but also as a prop in several portraits, including that of Mrs. Richard Low Divine.
 
The living room at Green Alley, photograph, circa 1910. Cecilia D. Saltonstall.
 
104 Natale Gavagnin was a Venetian gondolier when the Gilders met him and brought him to America in 1907. He soon became Cecilia's manservant and worked for her for more than twenty years.
 
Natale Gavagnin at Green Alley, photograph, circa 1910. Cecilia D. Saltonstall.
 
105 Cecilia's interest in befriending handsome young men was more than satisfied through her friendships with A. Piatt Andrew and Henry Davis Sleeper. In turn the young men valued her companionship and advice and often came to Green Alley for coffee in the open air.
 
Coffee in the open air at Green Alley -- A. Piatt Andrew, Henry Davis Sleeper, and Cecilia Beaux, photograph, September, 1907. Cecilia Beaux's Green Alley photo album. Cecilia D. Saltonstall.
 
106 Cecilia thoroughly enjoyed the young men who were a part of the Eastern Point community. In June 1908 she found time to playfully take A. Piatt Andrew, and his close companion Jack Mabbett, on a seashore "walk," using the leashes from Andrew's bear cubs. William James, Jr., is on the rocks in the distance.
 
Cecilia Beaux with A. Piatt Andrew and Jack Mabbett on a bear leash, and William James, Jr., in the background, photograph, June, 1908. Cecilia Beaux's Green Alley photo album. Cecilia D. Saltonstall.
 
107 Just before A. Piatt Andrew went to Europe, on behalf of the newly formed National Monetary Commission, Cecilia threw a Roman bon voyage supper for him in her studio at Green Alley. Isabella Stewart Gardner's place at the table is indicated by her nickname "Y".
 
Roman bon voyage supper for A. Piatt Andrew in the studio at Green Alley, photograph, August 30, 1908. Cecilia Beaux's Green Alley photo albums. Cecilia D. Saltonstall.
 
108 Even though Thornton Oakley was some twenty-five years younger than Cecilia, she fell in love with the young illustrator and continued a friendship with him after his marriage in 1910. Cecilia made a sketch of Thornton when he visited her at Green Alley, without his wife, in August 1911.
 
Thornton Oakley, charcoal on brown artist board, 49.9 x 35.9 cm (19 5/8 x 14 1/8 in.), 1911. Mrs. Lansdale Humphreys.
 
109 In 1908, a year before Thornton Oakley was engaged to be married, he spent a week with Cecilia at Green Alley, a time that she later recalled as having "all the brightness of illusion.. of unthinking days."
 
Thornton Oakley and Cecilia Beaux, photograph, 1908. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
 
 
Chapter 11
 
110 The first portrait that Cecilia painted in Gloucester was that of Sarah Elizabeth Doyle, an eminent Rhode Island educator.
 
Sarah Elizabeth Doyle, oil on canvas, 97.8 x 73.7 cm (38 1/2 x 29 in.), 1902. Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; gift of the Committee of High School Graduates (32.062).
 
111 M. Adelaide Nutting was one of the country's most eminent nursing educators, responsible for the expansion of the nursing profession and the development of some of the finest schools. When she resigned as the superintendent of nurses and principal of the training school for nurses, at the Johns Hopkins University Hospital, the alumni association and pupils of the nursing school commissioned a portrait of her, as a token of their affection and loyalty. Adelaide came to Cecilia's Gloucester studio in the summer of 1906. The artist created a portrait of her using the uniform that her students insisted that she wear for the picture. The costume helped visually capture her sitter's professionally inspired commitment.
 
Nurse M. Adelaide Nutting, oil on canvas, 94 x 63.5 cm (37 x 25 in.), 1906. The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland.
 
112 Sandwiched between the two lectures delivered in Boston, at Simmons College, in the spring of 1907, Cecilia was in Brooklyn, painting a portrait of Mrs. Jonathan Bulkley and her daughter Sarah Tod. Cecilia had accepted the commission because she found the Bulkley girl to be a "very interesting child." She painted her in a white ruffled dress, and in a pair of "audacious" red shoes.
 
Mrs. Jonathan Bulkley (Sarah Little Tod) and her Daughter Sarah Tod, oil on canvas, 183.3 x 108.9 cm (72 1/8 x 42 3/8 in.), 1907. Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut; gift of Mrs. Sarah B. F. Randolph (1944.42).
 
113 Cecilia's popularity was such that she now attracted clients throughout the country. Gertrude Ritter of Columbus, Ohio, commissioned a portrait of her mother, Mrs. Richard Low Divine.
 
Mrs. Richard Low Divine (Susan Sophia Smith), oil on canvas, 188.9 x 121.9 cm (74 3/8 x 48 in.), 1907. Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio; bequest of Gertrude Divine Webster (47.80).
 
114 Cecilia was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree from the University of Pennsylvania in February 1908, and she was asked to appear in a cap and gown for the ceremony.
 
Cecilia Beaux in cap and gown, photograph, February, 1908. Cecilia D. Saltonstall.
 
115 The commission for the portrait of Caroline B. Hazard, President of Wellsley College, may have come to Cecilia on the recommendation of Catharine Drinker Janvier, a close friend of the president.
 
Caroline B. Hazard, oil on canvas, 152.4 x 88.9 cm (60 x 35 in.), 1908. Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts.
 
116 Cecilia regarded careers for women as "sacred callings" and her somber and serious portrayals of professional women, such as that of Dean Marion Reilly, visually demonstrated the artist's conviction.
 
Dean Marion Reilly, oil on canvas, 99.7 x 64.1 cm (39 1/4 x 26 1/4 in.), 1918. Bryn Mawr College Art Collection, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania; gift of the Class of 1901.
 
117 Cecilia's portrait of Mrs. Stedman Buttrick and her son John is one of her most sentimental and affectionate renderings of a mother and child. It was painted when the artist was in her mid-fifties and well past her own childbearing years.
 
Mrs. Stedman Buttrick (Olive Bagley) and Son John, oil on canvas, 85.1 x 64.8 cm (33 1/2 x 25 1/2 in.), 1909. Mrs. John D. Bryson.
 
118 At the time Cecilia completed the portrait of Mrs. Stephen Merrell Clement, she was regarded as a "painter of society women," and was thought to occupy "much the same position in the art world that Edith Wharton [held] in literature."
 
Mrs. Stephen Merrell Clement, oil on canvas, 200.7 x 114.3 cm (79 x 45 in.), 1910 - 1911. American Red Cross, Greater Buffalo Chapter, Buffalo, New York.
 
119 Cecilia's portrait of her dear friend, Helena de Kay Gilder, was painted con amore for the sitter's daughter Rosamond, who had organized her father's papers shortly after his death in 1909.
 
Helena de Kay Gilder, oil on canvas, 78.7 x 53.3 cm (31 x 21 in.), 1911. Collection of the family.
 
120 In the drawing of Henry James, commissioned by Helena de Kay Gilder, Cecilia attempted to capture the spirituality of the author's soul.
 
Henry James, charcoal on paper, 52.1 x 38.1 cm (20 1/2 x 15 in.), 1911. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., (NPG.87.248).
 
121 Cecilia's portrait of her nephew Henry and his new bride, Sophie Lewis Hutchinson, was intended to suggest new beginnings -- a marriage and a day.
 
Portraits in Summer (Henry Sandwith and Sophie Lewis Hutchinson Drinker), oil on canvas, 139.7 x 91.4 cm (55 x 36 in.), 1911. Ernesta Drinker Ballard.
 
122 Henry Drinker proposed marriage to Sophie Hutchinson during a visit to Green Alley in August 1910.
 
Henry Drinker, Sophie Hutchinson, and Cecilia Beaux, photograph, August, 1910. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
 
123 Cecilia was interested in interpreting the "noble character" of her sitters, a quality suggested in her portrait of Dr. William Henry Howell.
 
Dr. William Henry Howell, oil on canvas, 105.4 x 71.8 cm (41 1/2 x 28 1/4 in.), 1910. The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland.
 
124 Stephen Merrell Clement was a successful Buffalo, New York, banker, and Cecilia's painting of him satisfied her criteria of portraying men who were autocratic leaders "with vision and understanding."
 
Stephen Merrell Clement, oil on canvas, 114.3 x 88.9 cm (45 x 35 in.), 1910. Dr. Stephen M. Clement, III.
 
125 Cecilia regularly went to Philadelphia, during the spring of 1912, to paint the portrait of Clement Buckley Newbold. When he first came to pose for her Cecilia discovered that Newbold was fifty-four years old, but she noted in her diary that he was "wonderfully young and vital...has thick brown hair and other signs of youth." Her sophisticated portrayal suggests her belief that portraits of men should "convey a sense of the avoirdupois of the person's character."
 
Clement Buckley Newbold, oil on canvas, 120.3 x 88.9 cm (47 3/8 x 35 in.), 1912. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; gift of Clement B. Newbold (1973.25.1).
 
126 Cecilia was startled by how much the retiring New York Congressman Sereno Elisha Payne looked like her father.
 
Honorable Sereno Elisha Payne, oil on canvas, 105.4 x 80 cm (41 1/2 x 31 1/2 in.), 1912. Committee on Ways and Means, United States House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
 
127 Cecilia accepted the commission from Springfield, Illinois banker, John Whitfield Bunn, because he had been a friend of Abraham Lincoln's and she wanted to hear his stories of the late President.
 
John Whitfield Bunn, oil on canvas, 115.6 x 84.5 cm (45 1/2x 33 1/4 in.), 1913. Bank One, Springfield, Illinois.
 
128 Actor George Arliss was flattered that Cecilia wanted to sketch his portrait "and so place [him] with the immortals."
 
George Arliss, crayon on paper, 47.5 x 34.8 cm (18 11/16 x 13 11/16 in.), 1913. American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York City; gift of Cecilia Beaux.
 
129 Margaret W. Cushing was a true New England blue blood. Born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, she could trace her ancestry in the colony back to the seventeenth century. During the fall of 1913, in twenty-seven sittings, Cecilia created a portrait of Cushing that displayed her well-bred gentility. The portrayal is one that well represents the artist's ideal of "fine ladyship" -- a quality "not bought but lived."
 
Margaret W. Cushing, oil on canvas, 106.7 x 78.7 cm (42 x 31 in.), 1913. The Historical Society of Old Newbury, Newburyport, Massachusetts.
 
130 As Cecilia began the painting of eighteen year old Dorothy Perkins, she told the girl she was trying to make the picture like an old portrait, such as a Romney or Reynolds.
 
Dorothy Perkins, oil on canvas, 180.3 x 104.1 cm (71 x 41 in.), 1909. The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio.
 
131 Dorothea Gilder posed for After the Meeting in Cecilia's New York studio, in the spring of 1914. The picture, undoubtedly one of the artist's finest, represents her vision of the active and purposeful modern woman. Considered Cecilia's "essay" on the woman's movement, the portrait depicts Dorothea at the close of a suffergist meeting. Its exquisite style owes a debt to the work of Degas, French Impressionism, and Oriental patterning.
 
After the Meeting (Dorothea Gilder), oil on canvas, 104 x 71.4 cm (40 15/16 x 28 1/8 in.), 1914. The Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio; gift of Florence Scott Libbey (15.163).
 
132 Cecilia's favorite model was her niece Ernesta. In the fall of 1914, she created a picture of Ernesta, in her Gloucester studio, that was an iconographic companion piece to the earlier portrait of Dorothea Gilder. By displaying Ernesta in a cool and nearly colorless, but majestic setting, the artist suggested the regal privilege of a wealthy and sophisticated debutante. The portrait was another vision of the modern woman, and as such it stood in marked contrast to the patterned and purposeful image suggested by After the Meeting.
 
Ernesta (Ernesta Drinker), oil on canvas, 182.2 x 110.2 cm (71 3/4 x 43 3/8 in.), 1914. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City; Arthur Hoppock Hearn Fund, 1915 (15.82).
 
 
Chapter 12
 
133 While A. Piatt Andrew was on a short furlough during World War I, Cecilia sketched him in his colonel's uniform and then sent the drawing to his mother for Christmas.
 
A. Piatt Andrew, charcoal on paper, 48.3 x 31.8 cm (19 x 12 1/2 in.), 1915. Andrew Gray.
 
134 Cecilia's portrait of Leslie Buswell wearing his Red Cross uniform and displaying his Croix de guerre was given to the young man when he married.
 
Leslie Buswell, oil on canvas, 78.7 x 63.5 cm (31 x 25 in.), 1918. Peter C. Buswell.
 
135 In the years just before World War I, Cecilia painted a portrait of her niece Ernesta that she called "La Soeur du Hero's." It was the artist's expression of patriotism and liberty, and Ernesta's plain white frock and dashing yellow sash recalls Cecilia's earlier portrait of Fanny Travis Cochran.
 
The Banner Bearer (Ernesta Drinker), oil on canvas, 76.2 x 63.5 cm (30 x 25 in.), 1909. Mr. and Mrs. William Horvitz.
 
136 Cecilia had been acquainted with the writer and reformer Ida Tarbell since the turn of the century and the sketch that she made of her was undoubtedly done in New York City. One of the few drawings that Beaux made of a professional woman, it may have been a gift to Tarbell for her efforts on Beaux's behalf regarding the war portraits. While the artist's esteem for the author is displayed in her finely detailed sketch, the author's respect for the artist was communicated in a note. Tarbell wrote Beaux that "I think you are about the most gallant lady I know."
 
Ida Tarbell, pencil on paper, 57.2 x 45.1 cm (22 1/2 x 17 3/4 in.), circa 1920s. Pelletier Library, Allegheny College, Meadville, Pennsylvania.
 
137 During the times that Cardinal Mercier was not there to pose, Cecilia worked from the study head that she had made.
 
Cardinal Désiré-Joseph Mercier, study of the head, oil sketch on canvas, 63.5 x 53.3 cm (25 x 21 in.), 1919. Alfred J. Walker, Alfred J. Walker Fine Art, Boston, Massachusetts.
 
138 The first of the three war portraits that Cecilia painted was of Cardinal Mercier of Malines, Belgium. The picture was completed at the Archevêché in a shell-bombed, late-eighteenth-century, large, bare room, during a hot July and August in 1919. In awe of Mercier's wartime accomplishments, the artist found she was reluctant to pull him around "as I do some people."
 
Cardinal Désiré-Joseph Mercier, oil on canvas, 198.1 x 131.5 cm (78 x 51 3/4 in.), 1919. National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; gift of the National Art Committee (1923.6.3).
 
139 Cecilia saw Admiral Beatty as a falcon on his perch -- falcon-eyed, falcon-beaked, but one with his wings clipped.
 
Admiral Sir David Beatty, Lord Beatty, oil on canvas, 158.8 x 116.2 cm (62 1/2 x 45 3/4 in.), 1919/1920. National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; gift of the National Art Committee (1923.6.4).
 
140 Cecilia waited for months until Clemenceau agreed to pose for her. When he finally granted her an interview, in April 1920, the French Premier greeted her by saying, "well to begin with we hate each other." Cecilia quickly retorted that it "was only half true." When he then told her that he found posing for portraits to be a time-consuming and tedious activity, Cecilia responded, "I wouldn't do this at all were it not for my country."
 
Premier Georges Clemenceau, oil on canvas, 119.4 x 93.4 cm (47 x 36 3/4 in.), 1920. National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; gift of the National Art Committee (1923.6.5).
 
 
Chapter 13
 
141 A year after the Armory Show the Caricature exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts included a parody of Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase called "Why Not? -- Lady Ascending and Descending a Staircase" by Becelia Ceaux. Even though Cecilia did not produce the caricature, she certainly supported the idea.
 
A parody of Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase called "Why Not? -- Lady Ascending and Descending a Staircase" by Becelia Ceaux, newspaper clipping, 1914. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
 
142 Smith College's dean Ada Comstock posed for what would be Cecilia's last portrait of a woman educator.
 
Ada Louise Comstock, oil on canvas, 137.2 x 108 cm (54 x 42 1/2 in.), 1922 - 1923. Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts; gift to the College from the Class of 1897.
 
143 In an unusual rendering of another woman artist, Cecilia portrayed portrait-miniature painter, Juile Kahle, at her work.
 
Mrs. Marcel Kahle (Julie Bruin), oil on canvas, 123.2 x 96.5 cm (48 1/2 x 38 in.), 1925 - 1926. Lois B. Weigl.
 
144 Cecilia's last self-portrait, painfully painted for the Uffizi Galllery a year after she broke her hip, is a more serious portrayal than the one she made for the National Academy of Design and is more in line with those that she created of other professional women.
 
Self-Portrait #4, oil on canvas, 109.2 x 71.1 cm (43 x 28 in.), 1925. Medici Collection, Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy.
 
145 Dressing Dolls is an unusually sentimental and somewhat autobiographical picture, created at the end of Cecilia's career, solely for her own pleasure. Cecilia completed it when she was no longer able to actively paint, and when she was in the midst of writing her autobiography, Background with Figures. In the book Cecilia reminisced about her favorite childhood activities -- sewing and playing with a special doll named Mrs. Charles Wood. In the painting, Cecilia brought these images of her youth to life, depicting a young girl sewing, a thimble on her hand, and a doll beside her.
 
Dressing Dolls (Belle Isle), oil on canvas, 88.9 x 72.4 cm (35 x 28 1/2 in.), 1928. Charles and Kathleen Harper.
 
146 Cecilia was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1930.
 
Membership certificate to the National Institute of Arts and Letters, New York, New York. Elected in 1930. Private collection.
 
147 In 1933 Cecilia was the fourth woman, and second woman artist (Anna Hyatt Huntington had been selected the previous year), to become a member of the exclusive and distinguished American Academy of Arts and Letters.
 
Stedman Centenary and Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, photograph, November 8, 1933. Archives, American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York City.
 
148 One of the last prizes that Cecilia was awarded was the Sorolla medal from the Hispanic Society of America in 1937.
 
Sorolla medal, Hispanic Society of America. 10.2 cm (4 in.) diameter. Victor Cornelius.
 
149 In April 1933 first lady Eleanor Roosevelt presented the National Achievement Medal of the Chi Omega Fraternity to Cecilia Beaux. The award was given each year to an American woman who had made an outstanding contribution to the culture of the world.
 
Eleanor Roosevelt presenting the National Achievement Award of the Chi Omega Fraternity to Cecilia Beaux. Illustrated in Literary Digest, May 6, 1933.
 
 
Chapter 14
 
150 While Cecilia had won numerous awards and prizes and had captured the attention of an art loving public, her sister Etta's continually burgeoning family was all the reward that she needed.
 
The growing Drinker family, photograph, 1929. Cecilia D. Saltonstall.
 
 
Chapter 15
 
151 Merrilyn Duzy discovered Cecilia when she participated in a performance called "Women Artists in History," organized by the Southern California Chapter of the Women's Caucus for Art.
 
Merrilyn Duzy as Cecilia Beaux, by Merrilyn Duzy, oil on canvas, 76.2 x 91.4 cm (30 x 36 in.), circa 1980s. Private collection.

 

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Acknowledgments
Preface
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Illustrations with Captions
End Notes
Bibliography
 
About the author and Resource Library editor's notes

 


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