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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Paintings of Thomas Wilmer Dewing at Brooklyn Museum

Thomas Wilmer Dewing’s paintings often possess an aura of mystery. It is as if the artist defies us to imagine who the women are and why they seem so otherworldly. The thick, almost hothouse atmosphere in which this woman sits seems suffocating, and her half-closed eyes suggest that she is in a trancelike state. These qualities have led some feminist interpreters to conclude that Dewing portrayed women as beautiful symbols of an aesthetically oriented inner life that was separate from the world of commerce and social interaction.

Thomas Wilmer Dewing: Unknown Woman, cca.1890
pastel on brown wove paper, mounted overall to pulpboard
no copyright infringement intended

Influenced by the works of James McNeill Whistler, Thomas Wilmer Dewing gravitated to the pastel medium for its evocative qualities, which were well suited to the pale, introspective female subjects he favored. Dewing adopted Whistler’s preference for assertively dark papers, but he far exceeded Whistler in his exploitation of the medium’s veil-like effects to evoke a sense of vagueness and immateriality.

Thomas Wilmer Dewing: Garrett Frieze, 1885
oil on canvas in five panels
no copyright infringement intended

Thomas Wilmer Dewing: Music, cca. 1896-1900
oil on canvas mounted on composition board and wooden panel
no copyright infringement intended

(Thomas Wilmer Dewing)

(Brooklyn Museum)

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  • I was so happy to find Dewing's work here. I appreciate the descriptions and learning a bit more about his work. I saw him first at the Freer in DC! thanks!

    By Anonymous KarenFriedaKaiser, at 12:09 AM  

  • Thanks for your nice comment!


    By Blogger Pierre Radulescu, at 3:30 AM  

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