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Man with the Cat (Henry Sturgis Drinker)

Man with the Cat (Henry Sturgis Drinker)
Artist
Cecilia Beaux, born Philadelphia, PA 1855-died Gloucester, MA 1942
Sitter
Henry Sturgis Drinker
Date
1898
Type
Painting
Medium
oil on canvas
Dimensions
48 x 34 5/8 in. (121.9 x 87.8 cm.)
Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Henry Ward Ranger through the National Academy of Design
Restrictions & Rights
CC0
Object number
1952.10.1
Gallery Label
Cecilia Beaux's portrait of Henry Sturgis Drinker is an interesting pairing of artist and sitter. Drinker was Beaux's brother-in-law, a railroad executive who later became president of Lehigh University. In the 1890s, men such as Drinker were at the pinnacle of East Coast society, and their tastes shaped public life for decades. Beaux was a fiercely independent woman who lived well, kept handsome lovers, and had a will of iron. At a time when few women could, she carved out a career for herself as a portraitist, and was thought to rival John Singer Sargent. Drinker's mutton-chop whiskers, linen suit, and casual pose convey immense self-assurance, but his steady, almost wary gaze suggests that he recognized in the artist a personality as strong as his own.
Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006
Data Source
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Department
Painting and Sculpture
On View
Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2nd Floor, East Wing