Published: April 6, 2004
“American Miniatures of Children 1770-1950,” a group of 24 “portable portraits” of or about the offspring of American families, as they became increasingly child-centered, is on view in the Trumbull Gallery at the Yale University Art Gallery through the fall.
The works were selected from the museum’s permanent collection of some 250 American miniatures, from which other thematic displays will be organized in the future.
“We are fortunate to have an outstanding collection of American miniatures at Yale,” said Amy Kurtz Lansing, graduate research assistant in the department of American paintings and sculpture and organizer of the display. “Our already fine collection was greatly enhanced by recent gifts and promised bequests at the time of the exhibition ‘Love and Loss: American Portrait and Mourning Miniatures,’ in 2000, and we are grateful to have examples of these in this selection.”
During the time that the miniature was popular in America, from the mid-Eighteenth to the mid-Nineteenth centuries, family relationships grew increasingly important and children were newly cherished. Many of the portraits exhibited, such as Eliza Goodridge’s circa 1832 image of Julia Porter Dwight, the great-niece of Yale President Timothy Dwight, are intended to capture and retain for the parents a tender or playful moment in a child’s rapidly changing life. The period was, however, one in which mortality rates, particularly of young children, were high and several of the images are posthumous portraits or mourning allegories.
Viewers are brought to the mid-Twentieth Century with two portraits, in the traditional miniature medium of watercolor on ivory, by Glenora Richards of her son Tim, first as a baby, in 1943, then as a boy in 1950.
The gallery is at Chapel Street, For information, 203-432-0611.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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