American Paintings and Sculpture
Artist: Thomas Eakins, American, 1844–1916

Maud Cook (later Maud Cook Reid, 1869–1956)

1895

Oil on canvas

24 1/2 × 20 1/16 in. (62.2 × 51 cm)
Bequest of Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A. 1903
1961.18.18

In his later years, Thomas 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, Eakins’s depictions of women focus on their vulnerability and their emotional tenderness. Shown in a private moment, Maud Cook, 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. Years later, 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.’”

Geography: 
Made in United States
Status: 
On view
Culture: 
American
Period: 
19th century
Classification: 
Paintings
Provenance: 

Maud Cook (1869–1956), Oil City, Penn.; Stephen Carlton Clark (1882–1960), New York; bequeathed to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 1961

Bibliography: 

Michael Conforti et al., The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings, exh. cat. (Williamstown, Mass.: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2006), 316, 325, fig. 278.

Rebecca Zurier, Picturing the City (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 2006), 127, fig. 48.

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), 329–30, 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.