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Dorothea and Francesca

A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.




Cecilia Beaux
American, 1855–1942

About this artwork

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.


On View, Gallery 273


Arts of the Americas


Cecilia Beaux


Dorothea and Francesca


New York (Place depicted)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


Signed, lower left: "Cecilia Beaux"


203.5 × 116.8 cm (80 1/8 × 46 in.)

Credit Line

A. A. Munger Collection

Reference Number


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