Standing Woman in a Black Gown

Standing Woman in a Black Gown

after 1909

Thomas Wilmer Dewing

(American, 1851-1938)

Pastel with black chalk

Support: Dark green-brown wove paper laid down on board (possibly by artist; see Hobbs p. 199)

Sheet: 36.4 x 28.4 cm (14 5/16 x 11 3/16 in.)

Bequest of Mrs. Henry A. Everett for the Dorothy Burnham Everett Memorial Collection 1938.122

Description

Inspired by an exhibition of James McNeill Whistler’s pastels at H. Wunderlich & Company in New York City in 1889, Dewing began making pastels the following year. Like Whistler, he used a small format to portray isolated, highly aestheticized young women in interiors without dramatic context. Ultimately, Dewing made more than 200 pastels, works of art in and of themselves, unrelated to his oil paintings. The figure here, wearing a midnight-blue gown, is diaphanous, opalescent, almost dreamlike in her insubstantiality.

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