Arts Everyday Living: Art of Autumn Week–An American Woman Artist & the Poetry of Leaves

Mary Vaux Walcott, Untitled (Autumn Leaves), 1874, watercolor on paper, sheet: 10 x 6 7/8 in. (25.4 x 17.5 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., 1970, 355.780

Title: Untitled (Autumn Leaves)

Artist: Mary Vaux Walcott (1860-1940)


When was the last time you picked up a branch of autumn leaves from the sidewalk or ground, similar to the watercolor above? Drawn  to the warm colors such as the deep reds, a touch of yellow at the base or edges? Oe perhaps to the green centers, a reminder of the summer? Even  the largest leaf, though already brown, intrigues us with its jagged patterns, like a miniature tree, fallen to the earth.

The artist Mary Vaux Walcott was only 14 when she created this work, at the beginning of a lifetime dedicated to recording wildflowers and plants; almost 800 examples can be found today in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.  Although Walcott resided mainly in Philadelphia and later Washington, D.C., she did regularly visit the Canadian Rockies, enthralled by the grandeur and beauty of the mountains.




The Smithsonian American Art Museum does not endorse or approve use of the above image or any of the material on this website. Nor has the Smithsonian American Art Museum participated in any projects utilizing the said image.

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions), Smithsonian.


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