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Maker(s):Alexander, John White
Culture:American (1856-1915)
Title:President Mary Emma Woolley
Date Made:ca. 1909
Materials:Oil on canvas
Place Made:North America; United States
Measurements:frame: 135.89 cm x 110.49 cm; 53 1/2 in x 43 1/2 in; stretcher: 49 1/4 x 39 5/8 in.; 125.095 x 100.6475 cm
Narrative Inscription:  Signature: lwr. l (red paint): John W Alexander
Accession Number:  MH 1911.5.I(b).PI
Credit Line:Gift of the Class of 1909
Museum Collection:  Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

Mount Holyoke College: President, 1901-1937
Half-length seated portrait of a woman in academic robes, facing to the right.

Label Text:
Mary Woolley is an emblem of elegance in this portrait by John White Alexander. Feathery brushstrokes and delicate shadows make her prestigious, dark robes weightlessly cascade off the canvas and highlight her dignified facial expression. Woolley lightly thumbs a book with one hand while holding a poised fist with the other, possibly an allusion to her knowledge and composed passion. Alexander’s portrait of Woolley demonstrates a trend among male artists of this era, who often painted women as domestic, inwardly emotional beings with exquisite exterior refinement.

-Katia Kiefaber '17, Art Museum Advisory Board Fellow, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum (Nov. 2017)

portraits; local history

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