Cecilia Beaux explored the line between portraiture and figure painting in Dorothea and Francesca, which focuses less on the individuality of the sitters and more on their coordinated movements. The composition features two children of Beaux’s friends Helena de Kay and Richard Watson Gilder, an influential couple in New York’s cultural scene. A double portrait of the daughters engaged in a dancing lesson, the work visually evokes the transition from girlhood to adolescence.
A female artist competing for portrait commissions in the male-dominated art market of the turn of the 20th century, Beaux fared exceedingly well. She was also an influential teacher, becoming the first woman to secure a faculty position at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
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New York, National Academy of Design, Loan Exhibition of Portraits, Dec. 14, 1898–Jan. 14, 1899, cat. 24, as Dorothea and Francesca.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Sixty–Eighth Annual Exhibition, Jan. 16–Feb. 25, 1899, cat. 92, as Dorothea and Francesca.
London, The International Society of Sculptors, Painters & Gravers, A Catalogue of the Pictures, Drawings, Prints and Sculptures at the Second Exhibition, May–July 1899, cat. 150.
Buffalo, Pan–American Exposition, Exhibition of Fine Arts, Exhibition of Fine Arts, May 1–Nov. 1, 1901, cat. 686.
Providence, Tilden–Thurber Company, “Green Gallery,” May 1902.
New York, Durand–Ruel Galleries, Exhibition of Paintings by Cecilia Beaux, Mar. 3–14, 1903, cat. 14.
Buffalo, Albright Art Gallery, The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Third Annual Exhibition of Selected Paintings by American Artists, Apr. 30–Aug. 30, 1908, cat. 10, as Dancing Children, incorrectly cited as lent by Richard Watson Gilder, Esq. New York, NY instead of Cecilia Beaux; St. Louis Museum of the Fine Arts, Sept. 15–?, 1908.
Washington, DC, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Exhibition of Oil Paintings by Miss Cecilia Beaux, Feb. 24–Mar. 17, 1912, cat. 14, incorrectly cited as lent by Mrs. Gilder instead of Cecilia Beaux.
New York, Women’s Cosmopolitan Club, Jan. ?–Feb. 9, 1914.
San Francisco, Panama–Pacific International Exposition, Department of Fine Arts, Feb. 20–Dec. 4, 1915, cat. 3033.
Buffalo, Albright Art Gallery, The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Fifteenth Annual Exhibition of Selected Paintings by American Artists, June 2–Sept. 6, 1921, cat. 6, as The Dancing Lesson.
Art Institute of Chicago, Thirty–fourth Annual Exhibition of American Paintings and Sculpture, Nov. 3–Dec. 11, 1921, cat. 15, as The Dancing Lesson.
Rochester, Memorial Art Gallery, Portraits by Cecilia Beaux, Landscapes by Chauncey Foster Ryder and Max Kuehne, Wood–Block Prints by Gustave Baumann, Sculpture by Bourdelle, Lachaise, Derujinsky and Ripley, Dec. 1923, cat. 5, as The Dancing Lesson.
New York, American Academy of Arts and Letters, Exhibition of Paintings by Cecilia Beaux, Nov. 14, 1935–May 3, 1936, cat. 16, as The Dancing Lesson.
Philadelphia, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition, Jan. 5–Mar. 3, 1936, cat. 131, as The Dancing Lesson.
Scott Hall, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, Apr. 2–9, 1954, as Dancing Lesson.
Chicago, Charles A. Stevens Store, Mar. 27–May 27, 1956, as Dancing Lesson.
Philadelphia, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Museum of the Philadelphia Civic Center, Cecilia Beaux: Portrait of an Artist, Sept. 6–Oct. 20, 1974, cat. 57; : Indianapolis Museum of Art, as The Dancing Lesson.
Mansfield Art Center, Ohio, The American Figure, H. Daniel Butts III, Mar. 11– Apr. 8, 1984, cat. 22.
Atlanta, High Museum of Art, Cecilia Beaux, American Figure Painter, May 12–Sept. 9, 2007; Tacoma Art Museum, Sept. 29, 2007–Jan. 6, 2008, Pennsylvania Academy of Art, Feb. 2–Apr. 13, 2008 (Atlanta only).
Detroit Institute of Art, The Art of American Dance, Mar. 20–June 12, 2016; Denver Art Museum, July 10–Oct. 9, 2016; Bentonville, Arkansas, Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, Oct. 22, 2016–Jan. 16, 2017, cat. 2.
Cecilia Beaux, New York, and Gloucester, MA, from 1898 to 1922; the Art Institute of Chicago, 1922.
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