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Women of Urban Realism

By Jessica Marten, Assistant Curator

image003An update on our Seeing America gallery:


Ernest Lawson
The Garden, 1914
Oil on canvas
Gift of the Estate of Emily and James Sibley Watson, 51.36

image002[1]Currently Installed:

Kathleen McEnery Cunningham
Woman in an Ermine Collar, 1909
Oil on canvas
Gift of Joan Cunningham Williams, Peter Cunningham, and Michael McEnery Cunningham, 83.13

Mary Smyth Perkins (first below)
Untitled, 1912
Oil on wood
Bequest of Isabel C. Herdle, 2005.168

Peggy Bacon (second below)
The Bellows Class, 1918
Marion Stratton Gould Fund, 95.10

image004Kathleen McEnery, Mary Smythe Perkins and Peggy Bacon were influenced by the Urban Realist movement, though each artist developed her own style and artistic sensibility. McEnery and Perkins studied with Robert Henri, leader and mentor of the Urban Realists, and Bacon studied with George Bellows, himself a student of Henri’s.

image005Interestingly, all three works focus upon women in the urban environment and share an edgy, crowded, or gritty approach to the subject matter: McEnery’s worldly young sophisticate, Perkins’ socializing mothers and children (can you see the children’s toy hoops?), and Bacon’s crowded class at New York City’s Art Students League.

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