Arts Everyday Living: Through a Child’s Eyes–Young Girl from New York City, Portrait in White

George Bellows, Little Girl in White (Queenie Burnett), 1907, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Little Girl in White (Queenie Burnett), 1907

George Bellows (1882-1925)

 

She may looks small, although her painting is over 5 feet high and currently hangs at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Her name is Queenie Burnett and, according to the museum’s website, she was the laundry delivery girl of the artist George Bellows. Perhaps better known for his early 20th century representations of brutal boxing matches and New York street construction scenes, Bellows also created portraits of children like Queenie at the same time.

For his models are not the mainly middle class subjects of  Impressionist contemporaries like William Merritt Chase. Instead Bellows was part of a realist art movement often depicting the poverty and grittiness of the city, particularly of the industrial revolution that  was transforming the country. Yet, no matter her background, Queenie speaks to us with her large dark eyes, pausing in what is probably a long working day. While her white dress is simple and unadorned, defined by Bellows’ energetic, thick brushwork, contrasting in color to her black stockings and shoes. Do you think she has had time to comb her hair?

 

 

 

 

In the public domain, courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

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

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