Angels and Tomboys: Girlhood in 19th-Century American Art
Hardcover Smyth-sewn book, with jacket
184 pages, with over 100 full-color reproductions
Includes Exhibition Checklist and Index
Written by Holly Pyne Connor, with contributions by Sarah Burns, Barbara Dayer Gallati, and Lauren Lessing
Published with the Newark Museum
Size: 8.5 x 11 in.
In the aftermath of the Civil War, the American girl seemed transformed—at once more introspective and adventurous than her counterpart of the previous generation. She took center stage in the stories of Louisa May Alcott and Henry James at the same moment that contemporary painters, illustrators, photographers, and sculptors asked her to pose. For the first time, girls claimed the attention of genre artists, and girlhood itself seized the imagination of the nation.
Angels and Tomboys: Girlhood in Nineteenth-Century American Art explores the myriad ways artists portrayed young girls, from the sentimental, innocent stereotype to the freespirited individual. Works by John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, and Thomas Eakins, together with those by leading women artists, such as Cecilia Beaux and Mary Cassatt, reveal a new, provocative psychological element not found in early Victorian portraiture, while the mischievous tomboys in Lilly Martin Spencer's paintings and the pure angels in the works of Abbot Handerson Thayer underscore the complexity of girlhood—and of representing that evanescent phase.
With essays that explore the artworks’ historical, social, and literary contexts, and more than 130 illustrations—including paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs—this book is an illuminating view of what it meant to be young, female, and American in the 19th century.