Object Image

In A Gentlewoman, J. Alden Weir depicted a well-dressed young woman in a moment of personal reflection. She rests lightly on a chair with her eyes cast downward, completely unaware of the viewer. A contemporary critic praised this woman for her "mixture of sturdiness and charm," qualities valued in turn-of-the-century gentlewomen. In the early twentieth century, modernization brought on by steam power and railroads caused feelings of anxiety among many Americans. To help alleviate such feelings, artists created images like these of quiet interior scenes, a visually soothing antidote to an unquiet age.

Credit: Gift of William T. Evans

1906
Oil on canvas
76.2 x 63.5cm
1909.7.72
Image and text: Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2024

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