Violet Oakley, Portrait of Italian Coloratura Soprano Amelita Galli-Curci

Pastel on paper
Credit Line
Museum purchase, 2014
12 ½ x 8 in.

A leading figure in American art throughout her life, Violet Oakley (1874 -1961) was a painter, muralist, illustrator, portraitist, architectural and industrial designer, writer, civic leader, and advocate for world peace.

In 1918, Oakley won a commission from the government of Italy to create a poster encouraging the purchase of Italian war bonds. The subject was to be the world- renowned Italian soprano Amelita Galli-Curci, the most famous coloratura of her generation. Oakley traveled to New York, sketching the diva as she performed on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera and creating this likeness in Spanish costume during a formal portrait sitting. Galli Curci signed the sketch for Oakley, writing: “For the fraternal sentiment that unites you to my country.”

Throughout her career, Oakley explored the connection between the visual arts and music, as for example in her mural Youth and the Arts and her portraits of Albert Spalding, in Woodmere’s collection.

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