Charles W. HawthorneU.S. 1872-1930
Lady in White 29.0546
The color white, or rather, the problems of color and luminosity it presented, fascinated Charles Webster Hawthorne; he created numerous studies of figures in white throughout his career. "There is nothing in the world so helpful to a young painter as a study of white, if he will but be honest," he once commented. The sitter for this painting is likely Marion Campbell Hawthorne, whom the artist married in 1903, as there is another full-length portrait of the same woman wearing a similar white dress that Hawthorne painted in 1905. Hawthorne came to New York in 1890 with the ambition of becoming an artist, working at a variety of daytime jobs while studying nights at the Art Students League. In 1896 he began studying under William Merritt Chase at the latter's Shinnecock Summer School of Art. Hawthorne then helped Chase organize his New York School and worked as his assistant for a year. Considering his later teachings about light and shade in nature, it may seem contradictory that Hawthorne's early work centered not on the landscape but on the study and representation of the human figure at work and in repose.
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