Monday, September 25, 2017

Some Hard Female Faces

Part of what keeps this blog chugging along (we're now at more that 1,000 posts) is that I seem to have a modest knack for finding associations, for making comparisons. One of those occasions happened a few weeks ago while visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. I viewed two paintings that I was already familiar with with, noticed a similarity, then recalled a photograph that struck me in the same way.

The painters were Thomas Anshutz, who I wrote about here, Thomas Hart Benton, whose early career I covered here, and the was photographer Walker Evans, Wikipedia entry here.

The nature of the subject matter is young women with "hard" expressions on their faces. They are surprisingly similar.


A Rose (detail) - 1907 - Thomas Anshutz
The subject is Rebecca H. Whelen, daughter of a Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts board member. Anshutz taught there for many years. This is an unusual pose for that time and place: a more tranquil expression would have been expected.

City Activities with Dance Hall (detail) - 1930 - Thomas Hart Benton
From a panel of Benton's America Today mural, now prominently displayed at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. The subject is Elizabeth England, future wife of Charles Pollock, older brother of the more famous painter Jackson Pollock. The Pollock brothers studied under Benton, hence the connection.

Girl in Fulton Street (cropped) - 1929 - Walker Evans
From one of Evans' New York street scene photos of the late 1920s.

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