Nationality & Life Dates:
American, 1871 –
Portrait of Bessie (Miss Elizabeth Newton)
Oil on canvas
59 x 32 inches
Purchase with funds from the Margaret and Terry Stent Endowment for the Acquisition of American Art and High Museum of Art Enhancement Fund, 2000.162
On View - Stent Family Wing, Third Level, Gallery 305
The son of the successful furniture designer and decorator Christian Herter, Albert Herter began his career as an illustrator, painter, and muralist. Portrait of Bessie was painted when Herter was twenty-one years old, soon after he returned from studying art in Paris. The sitter, Elizabeth Newton, had been a childhood companion of Herter’s. This painting is Herter’s homage to James McNeill Whistler, the expatriate artist who had a profound effect on American art around the turn of the twentieth century. Here Herter has accepted the Whistlerian challenge of painting a life size picture in a carefully contrived arrangement of whites. The decorative patterning of the background curtain also signals Herter’s interest in textiles and Japanese design.