Violet Oakley, Untitled [Portrait of a Woman]

Violet Oakley: Untitled [Portrait of a Woman] (Undated) Pastel and charcoal
Untitled [Portrait of a Woman]
Pastel and charcoal
Credit Line
Gift of Ofelia Garcia, 2011
20 ¼ " x 12 ½ "

Violet Oakley was born in Jersey City, NJ, and lived in Philadelphia after her family returned from a trip to France when she was 21. Oakley was renowned as a muralist, stained glass designer, watercolorist, and illustrator during the “American Renaissance,” a period of cultural renewal in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, and the second woman ever hired to teach at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA).

This untitled portrait sketch of a woman demonstrates Oakley’s confidence as a draftsman and her ability to use a great variety of types of lines in constructing an image. The sitter’s face is detailed, carefully drawn, and softly shaded, while the shoulder, torso, and hands are described quickly with heavier gestural strokes that are definite and bold. 

While studying at PAFA, Violet Oakley met Elizabeth Shippen Green and Jessie Wilcox Smith, who became her lifelong friends and together they were known as the Red Rose Girls.

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