Maud Cook (Mrs. Robert C. Reid)
Artist: Thomas Eakins, American, 1844?1916
Bequest of Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A. 1903
In his later years, Eakins turned increasingly to portraiture, and most of his sitters were friends and people he admired. Commissions were rare. Unlike his portraits of men, in which he was sensitive to the sitter's public self (for example, John Biglin in a Single Scull) Eakins' depictions of women focus on their vulnerability and their emotional tenderness. Maud Cook is one of Eakins' most beautiful portraits. Shown in a private moment, the sitter, dressed in a glowing pink dress, tilts her head away from the viewer and toward the light, which casts strong shadows revealing the structure of her face. The same warm light bathes the exposed skin of her neck and upper chest, imparting to the portrait a subtle glow of youth, health, and decorous sensuality. Years later, Maud Cook described the portrait to the artist's biographer: "As I was just a young girl my hair is done low in the neck and tied with a ribbon. Mr. Eakins never gave the painting a name but said to himself it was like "a big rosebud."
This object is on view at the gallery.
Michael Conforti et al., The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings, exh. cat. (Williamstown, Mass.: Sterling and Francine Clark Institute, 2006), 316, 325, fig. 278.
Helen A. Cooper et al., Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2008), 32930, no. 211, ill.
Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery's complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.