Mary Curtis Richardson
(1848 - 1931)
Oil on canvas
52" x 32"
National Academy of Design
1887, Women's Division
Won the Norman Dodge Prize for the best painting in the United States by a woman artist.
Lenten Lilies' is Mary Curtis Richardson's most important painting; it was the painting that launched her career. A portrait of the New York actress Enid Leslie, this was the painting that won her the National Academy of Design's coveted Norman Dodge Prize for best painting by a woman in the United States in 1887.
Lenten Lilies was also chosen for exhibition at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. (It can be seen on page 10 of 'Plein Aire Painters of California - the Southland' by Westphal in the photo of the Art Gallery, California Building, World's Columbian Exposition).
After that, she became the best-known portraitist in San Francisco, male or female. As mentioned in Independent Spirits, Charles Keeler ranked her along with William Keith and Thomas Hill. Richardson's paintings hung next to those of Mary Cassatt and Celia Beaux at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. She became known as the "Mary Cassatt of the West" because, like Cassatt (who was also childless), Richardson often painted mothers with their children.
*Selected One-person Exhibitions: Vickery, Atkins & Torrey, San Francisco, 1909; MacBeth Gallery, New York, 1910; California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 1932 (Lenten Lilies - catalog #2, reproduced b/w)
*Selected Group Exhibitions
National Academy of Design, New York, 1885, 1886, 1887, 1894; World's Columbian Exhibition, Chicago, 1893; Mark Hopkins Institute of Art,1897-98; Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, 1915
*Awards: Norman Dodge Prize, best painting by a woman in the United States, awarded for Lenten Lilies, National Academy of Design, New York,1887; Silver Medal, Panama- Pacific Exposition, San Francisco, 1915
*Public Collections: de Young; SF Mus of Art; Oakland Mus.; others.
*Literature: Artists in California 1786-1940, Volume II, Edan Hughes; Art in California, R. L. Bernier, 1916; Artists of the American West, Doris Dawdy; California Art Research; History and Ideals of American Art, Eugen Neuhaus; Benezit; American Art Annual, 1919-1931; Pan Pacific International Catalog; Who was Who in American Art, Peter Hastings Falk; others