Thomas Hovenden, Studies of a Woman
This drawing of three female figures, depicted from the waist up, might be a study of the woman in Thomas Hovenden’s 1873 painting In the Woods. After successfully showing some of his works in the National Academy of Design’s 1872 annual exhibition, Hovenden captured the attention of Baltimore collector William T. Walters and his business partner John W. McCoy. McCoy purchased several of Hovenden’s paintings, including In the Woods, and financed the artist’s education abroad in France.
In the Woods exemplifies the landscape genre in American painting in the mid-1800s. The virgin landscape into which Hovenden placed this young woman evokes idyllic Eden, untouched by man. Hovenden explored the theme of the world before industrialization and mechanization throughout the rest of his career.