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Thornton Niven Wilder

Boris Chaliapin, 1904 - May 1979
Thornton Niven Wilder, 17 Apr 1897 - 7 Dec 1975
Gouache and conte crayon on board
Frame (Verified): 54.3 x 51.1 x 1.9 cm (21 3/8 x 20 1/8 x 3/4")
Sight (Verified): 30.2 x 31.8 cm (11 7/8 x 12 1/2")
Mat: 71.1 × 55.9 cm (28 × 22")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Isabel Wilder
Restrictions & Rights
© Chris Murphy
Object number
Exhibition Label
By January 1953, when this portrait of Thornton Wilder appeared on the cover of Time, Wilder had won many distinctions as both a novelist and playwright. Best known for his innovations in drama, he had claimed three Pulitzer Prizes—one for his novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and the other two for his plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth. At this time he was in Europe, where he had gone intending to finish two new works. His gregarious nature and impulse to teach, however, were getting in the way, and he was instead spending most of his time lecturing on his craft to a succession of admiring European audiences.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection