American Paintings and Sculpture
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Artist: Thomas Wilmer Dewing, American, 1851–1938
Designer: Stanford White, American, 1853–1906



Oil on canvas in an original gilded plaster and pine frame

20 1/2 × 36 in. (52.1 × 91.4 cm) framed: 38 3/4 × 54 1/2 × 2 1/2 in. (98.4 × 138.4 × 6.4 cm)
Gift of the Estate of Miss Frances L. Howland
Thomas Wilmer Dewing’s dreamlike settings stand in stark contrast to the newly industrialized, gritty environment of late nineteenth-century America. Inspired by the work of James McNeill Whistler, Asian design, and music, Dewing believed that the purpose of the artist is to “see beautifully.” While slender birches sway in measured counterpoint and delicate harp music fills the air, four elegant young women perform a stately arabesque across the canvas, their glowing evening gowns a graceful beat of muted gold, rose, brown, pink, and red. Dewing’s friend the architect Stanford White made the decorative frame.
19th century
On view

Charles Lang Freer, by purchase from the artist for his friend James B. Williams, by c. 1891-unknown date; Miss Francis L. Howland; gift of the estate of Miss Frances L. Howland to Yale University Art Gallery.


Matthew M. McCarty, “The City in Summer,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2004): 102, fig. 1.

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), 350–51, no. 228, ill.

Susan A. Hobbs and Shoshanna Abeles, Thomas Wilmer Dewing: Beauty into Art, A Catalogue Raisonne (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2018), 243, pl. 96.

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.