Cecilia Beaux, Portrait of Hannah Rose Hoffman Lee

Cecilia Beaux: Portrait of Hannah Rose Hoffman Lee (1893) Oil on canvas
Portrait of Hannah Rose Hoffman Lee
Oil on canvas
Credit Line
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Richard Cross, 1998
26 x 21 in.

Beaux was a leading figure in American art and a renowned portraitist. Her work is admired for its elegance, realist approach, and depth of emotion. Hannah Rose Hoffman Lee, a member of a distinguished Philadelphia family that traced its roots to colonial times, was known as a leading figure in Philadelphia society with a strong personality. Here Beaux works in a particularly Impressionistic manner, perhaps following other Americans, such as James Abbott McNeill Whistler. The painterly brushwork bears witness to the artist’s hand, describing the play of light across the surfaces of the dress. Yet, the sitter’s features and quiet introspection remain Beaux’s artistic focus. Her great reputation as a portraitist derived from just this combination of brilliant execution and psychological quality that pleased clients and critics. Indeed, fellow PAFA instructor William Merritt Chase described Beaux as "not only the greatest living woman painter, but the best that has ever lived."  

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