Lilla Cabot Perry (18481933)
Oil on canvas, c. 1912

Private collection

Boston-born Lilla Cabot Perry began taking painting lessons in 1884, after the last of her three daughters was born, and continued to do so when the family moved to Paris in 1887. In 1889 she discovered the works of Claude Monet, which inspired her to purchase a house in Giverny, his home outside of Paris.

In spite of numerous moves during the next decade and before returning permanently to Boston in 1909, Perry spent nine summers in Giverny. Friendship with Monet led Perry to adopt a more colorful palette and a freer treatment of the paint surface. Perry frequently featured children in her work, reveling in their innocence and unspoiled beauty.

Initially, Perry’s daughters were her primary models, but as they grew older, Hildegarde, the daughter of a friend, served to embody these qualities. Perry’s paintings of Hildegarde, shown at the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, garnered the artist a bronze medal.