Girlhood in American Art

Northwest Bedroom Gallery

In this small exhibition planned for the Northwest Bedroom Gallery, we examine different constructions of girlhood from the eighteenth to the twentieth century.

In Gilbert Stuart’s double portrait of two Irish cousins, the artist emphasized the girls’ fine embroidery as evidence of the refinement and accomplishments that will soon make them eligible marriage partners. Similarly, William Merritt Chase’s In the Studio presents a young girl of sophisticated taste admiring a collection of prints.

Later works, by artists such as Mary Cassatt and Robert Henri, convey a complex range of emotions, from affection to amusement to annoyance. All of the pieces in the exhibition reflect the cultural and social environments the girls inhabited.

Gilbert Stuart, Anna Dorothea Foster and Charlotte Anna Dick, 1790-1791, oil on canvas, Gift of Charlotte Hanes in honor of Philip and Joan Hanes, who had the vision of Winston-Salem being the City of the Arts.