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The Blue Feather

The Blue Feather

1917

William J. Edmondson

(American, 1868-1966)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 107.3 x 112.4 x 5.8 cm (42 1/4 x 44 1/4 x 2 5/16 in.); Unframed: 70.5 x 75.6 cm (27 3/4 x 29 3/4 in.)

Gift of Morris Glauber 1917.400

Description

Throughout his long career, Edmondson stubbornly resisted modernist styles and proudly proclaimed himself a traditionalist. He felt that artists should paint what they see, and once declared, "When painting a portrait, I do not indulge in this ‘painting of the soul’ stuff. When some artists fail to get a likeness of a person they say they have not tried to paint him, but have painted his soul."
The sitter in The Blue Feather was Edmondson's student, Caroline Mytinger, who often modeled for him. Later a portraitist in her own right, she traveled to New Guinea and the Solomon Islands to record its indigenous people.

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