Arts Everyday Living: The Art of the Cat Week—Today, Through the Eyes of Cecilia Beaux

Cecilia Beaux, Man with a Cat (Henry Sturgis Drinker), 1898, oil on canvas, 48 x 34 5/8 inches, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Henry Ward Ranger through the National Academy of Design.

Title: Man with a Cat (Henry Sturgis Drinker)

Artist: Cecilia Beaux (1855-1942)

In this portrait, we have entered the gentlemanly world of Mr. Henry Sturgis Drinker, engineer and future university president as well as brother-in-law of the painting’s artist, Cecilia Beaux. He appears to be a large man, his face dominated by mutton chop whiskers, a style popular at the end of the 19th century. A white summer suit covers his tall frame with its crisply starched lapels and long, flowing sleeves. Yet, underneath his slender figures, a tiny reddish cat quietly slumbers, miraculously not shedding a hair on Mr. Drinker’s immaculate leg.

Have you heard of Cecilia Beaux? Here are some fast facts:

Born: 1855, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Died: 1942, Gloucester, Massachusetts

She was admired in the United States in her own lifetime as a leading portrait painting. Realized early that she wanted to become an artist. Studied with artist relatives and tutors in Philadelphia where she was raised. Although she traveled and worked in Europe, Beaux remained primarily in the United States receiving numerous portrait commissions and awards. She was also the first woman to be hired as a full faculty member of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Her subjects ranged from family members to the wife and daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt.





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.


, , , , ,