A Loan Exhibition of 19th Century Paintings from the Addison Gallery of American
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Abbott Thayer (1849–1921) was the leading turn-of-the-century painter of an artistic movement known as the American Renaissance Revival. The goal of American Renaissance artists was to forge a new American art based on the models, traditions, and ideals of the High Renaissance. This movement encouraged the integration of the arts and interaction and collaboration between artists, sculptors, and architects following models of the Renaissance. Thayer sought to portray timeless, uplifting ideas of truth and beauty in his paintings. Beyond portraiture, Thayer elevated his careful depiction of the physiognomy of his model, most often modeled from members of his family or household, to an image of pure and angelic womanhood. As art historian Ross Anderson has explained, "It is Thayer's belief in the inseparable bond between body and spirit, and the necessity of embodying it in his art, that distinguishes him from his better known contemporaries . . . .Thayer insisted upon identifying a spiritual component."
Like many other artists of this movement, Thayer spent several years of study and work in Paris as a young man, returning in 1879 with a strong appreciation of classical and Renaissance images and ideals. Developing an early career strongly dependent on portraiture, Thayer divided his time between New York in the winters and the countryside of New Hampshire and upstate New York in the summers. In 1888 he spent his first summer in Dublin, New Hampshire in a house built for him by one of his patrons; he moved there permanently in 1901. Inthe same manner as Augustus Saint-Gaudens in Cornish, an artists's colony of painters, writers, philosophers, and dramatists gathered around him in Dublin. The portrait of Beatrice dates to this time. Commissioned by one of the artist's important patrons, Thayer painted a full-sized portrait of Beatrice Holden, now at the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse. Inthis depiction, as in the larger version, Thayer has captured a timeless sobriety and portrayed a dignity particularly touching in such a young girl.
This object was included in the following exhibitions:A Loan Exhibition of 19th Century Paintings from the Addison Gallery of American, Whitney Museum of American Art, 3/28/1933 - 4/27/1933
Materials and Methods in Painting and Print making, Addison Gallery of American Art, 1/5/1937 - 2/5/1937
Portraits of Children by American Artists, Portraits, Inc., 11/6/1944 - 11/25/1944
The Works, Addison Gallery of American Art, 11/7/1969 - 2/22/1970
Boys and Girls, Men and Women, Addison Gallery of American Art, 4/12/1990 - 6/10/1990
Faces of the Addison: Portraits from the Collection, Addison Gallery of American Art, 4/23/1994 - 7/31/1994
Transcendent Universe: The Paintings of Abbott Handerson Thayer, The Hyde Collection, 2/11/1996 - 4/21/1996
Identity and Intention: Two Centuries of American Portraiture, Addison Gallery of American Art, 9/4/2001 - 12/30/2001
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