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DescriptionJESSIE WILLCOX SMITH (American, 1863-1935)
A Child's Prayer, book cover, 1925
Mixed media on board
22 x 15.5 in. (image)
Signed lower left
This absolute masterpiece has never been offered on the market, residing in the same family collection for decades. The painting was also reproduced as a full-page color plate 12 image in Jessie-Willcox Smith: American Illustrator by Edward D. Nudelman, Pelican Publishing Company, 1990.
Colors are bright and image presents beautifully. Varnish on image area very lightly and uniformly toned commensurate with age, but presents significantly nicer than is typical and there are no condition issues of note in image area. Adhesive residue and light abrasions on the border edges (not seen unless removed from frame). Illustration board has been affixed to backing by framer and was not removed. Board has an overall size of 26 x 18 inches. Framed under glass to an overall size of 30.75 x 24.25 inches.
Smith, Jessie Willcox:Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1863 to an affluent family, Jessie Willcox Smith attended private schools in that city, as well as in Cincinnati, Ohio. At age 20, she went to work as a kindergarten teacher but soon learned that she could not handle the stress of dealing with small children. On a suggestion from one of her cousins, Smith took art classes, first at the School of Design for Women, then at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Later, Smith went on to study at Drexel University. It was at that school she became good friends with two other artists, Elizabeth Shippen Green and Violet Oakley. The trio dubbed themselves "The Red Rose Girls," taking the name from the inn where they lived. Smith's art work appeared in magazines, books and calendars. Soon she was sought out to do illustrations for ads for Ivory Soap, Kodak and Quaker. In 1915, Smith not only signed a contract as the cover illustrator for Good Housekeeping magazine, she also did one of her most famous pieces, Charles Kingsley's "The Water-Babies." Smith's art work appeared in such periodicals as Ladies Home Journal, Harper's, Century and Leslie's Weekly. She also did illustrations for Little Red Riding Hood and the cover for Heidi. Smith passed away in 1935 at the age of 71. Fifty-six years later, she was inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame, just the second woman to be so honored at the time.
*Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.
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