Artist Trivia: Lillian Wescott Hale

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Lilian Hale (1881-1963), Daffy Dow n-Dilly, 1908, Oil on canvas, 44 3/4 x 29 inches, Gift of Mrs. Augustus Putnam from the estate of Mrs. Ernest Amory Codman, 1961.1238
Lilian Hale (1881-1963), Daffy Dow n-Dilly, 1908, Oil on canvas, 44 3/4 x 29 inches, Gift of Mrs. Augustus Putnam from the estate of Mrs. Ernest Amory Codman, 1961.1238

QUESTION:

This female artist’s body of work reflects her training based on an aesthetic that combined academic drawing and impressionistic technique. She studied at the Harvard Art School with William Merritt Chase and at the Boston Museum School with Edmund Charles Tarbell. Best known for her sensitive portrayals of women, her paintings are appealing, often depicting charming figures in idealized settings. A master of refined impressionistic technique, she won awards throughout her career for her artistic achievements, and was the first woman to win the esteemed Altman Prize from the National Academy of Design in 1927.

ANSWER:  Lillian Wescott Hale

Daffy-Down-Dilly shows a woman dressed in a sumptuous shawl, bathed in the soft light from the window, leaning gracefully to arrange flowers. The image describes a world that is intimate, refined, and idealized, and the figure of the woman is perceived as a part of the room and not as an individual personality. This rarefied world of upper-class leisure and decorative femininity was a major theme in American painting in Boston and New York at the end of the 19th century. Painted early in her career, this work seems to endorse a subordinate societal role for women, although later Hale painted portraits that established her own voice in the circle of artists with whom she was associated.

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