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THOMAS WILMER DEWING

A READING (OR WOMAN IN WINDSOR CHAIR), CA. 1909

About the Artwork

In this painting, a woman drifts off into thought, a book held loosely in hand. A harmonious, subtle palette and the sitter’s elegant calm set a contemplative mood. Dewing avoids the limiting structure of narrative depiction and offers little context or explanation. Yet while the nondescript setting and model’s breezy styling lend a timeless effect, Dewing’s quotation of Renaissance portrait conventions, layered with the classically styled figure seated in a Colonial Windsor chair, announces his full embrace of aestheticism’s modern, cosmopolitan outlook.

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