Description

    JESSIE WILLCOX SMITH (American, 1863-1935)
    A Child's Garden of Verses, book illustration, 1905
    Mixed media on paperboard
    33.5 x 23 in.
    Signed lower right
    This delightful piece hails from one of Jessie Willcox Smith's most important projects, and the masterfully composed, swirling composition is one of her most intricate, nothing less than a glowing celebration of childhood--and motherhood.

    One of America's greatest illustrators, Jessie Willcox Smith attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and studied under Thomas Eakins in Philadelphia, and graduating in 1888. A year later, she found work in the production department of the Ladies' Home Journal, for five years. After that, she continued her art education with classes under Howard Pyle, first at Drexel and then at the Brandywine School.

    Smith then established her reputation, illustrating stories and articles for Century, Collier's Weekly, Leslie's Weekly, Harper's, McClure's, Scribner's, and the Ladies' Home Journal. Smith was closely associated with the artists Elizabeth Shippen Green and Violet Oakley, who also studied with Pyle, and the group became known as "The Red Rose Girls." Smith's papers are deposited in the collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. From 1918 through 1932, Smith illustrated covers exclusively for Good Housekeeping magazine.

    As Jessie Willcox Smith biographer S. Michael Schnessel has aptly observed, "Jessie Willcox Smith was the creator of the ideal child. She pictured a child that was without equal in reality -- innocent, unblemished, never naughty, always perfect. Smith's touching, sensitive portraits of children at play won her the hearts of millions of Americans."

    This illustration appeared on page 116 of Robert Louis Stevenson's book, A Child's Garden of Verses, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1905.

    Smith's unparallel talent for figure painting with personality is on full display in this charming group portrait.

    From an Important California Collection.




    Condition Report*:

    Edges of paperboard worn with chipping to upper right corner, left central edge displays some separation of layers, otherwise very good condition.

    *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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    Auction Dates
    February, 2010
    18th Thursday
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