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Maria Clarissa Leavitt

This portrait was painted the year that the sitter moved from New York to Brooklyn, where her husband, David Leavitt, had an interest in the Brooklyn White Lead Company (later Dutch Boy Paint). One of his partners in this enterprise was the BMA's founder, Augustus Graham. Maria Leavitt, fashionably dressed and coiffed, is seated in a Neoclassical armchair before an open window. A generalized landscape view associates her with nature—a reference both to the cloistered lifestyle of a lady in society and to the heightened sensitivity attributed to the female gender.


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