Letitia Wilson Jordan
The Philadelphia Realist painter Thomas Eakins asked Letitia Wilson Jordan (1852–1931), the sister of one of his students, to pose for him after he saw her in this costume at a ball. Over the course of extended sittings, he recorded her appearance in the gauzy black gown, Japanese shawl, buff gloves, and red bow with an unsparing directness that distinguished Eakins's art from the more flattering and fashionable portraiture of his contemporaries. The incongruity between Jordan's elegant finery and her attitude of ennui suggests a self-conscious rejection of such fashionable conventions on Eakins's part. (His sitters did not always appreciate his blunt realism, but the artist was sufficiently wealthy to avoid relying on commissions.) Eakins endowed this portrait with a powerful sense of immediacy through his skillful modeling of the sitter's body and a dramatic play of light and dark that was inspired by the works of the seventeenth-century Spanish artist Diego Velázquez.
A verbal description of this work is available through Art Beyond Sight, a guide for people with visual impairments.
- Artist: Thomas Eakins, American, 1844-1916
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Place Made: United States
- Dates: 1888
- Dimensions: 59 15/16 x 40 3/16 in. (152.3 x 102 cm) (show scale)
- Signature: Unsigned
- Inscriptions: Inscribed lower right: "TO MY FRIEND / D.W. JORDAN / EAKINS.88"
- Collections:American Art
- Museum Location: This item is on view in American Identities: A New Look, Making Art: Centennial Era, 5th Floor
- Accession Number: 27.50
- Credit Line: Dick S. Ramsay Fund
- Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
- Caption: Thomas Eakins (American, 1844-1916). Letitia Wilson Jordan, 1888. Oil on canvas, 59 15/16 x 40 3/16 in. (152.3 x 102 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 27.50
- Record Completeness: Best (89%)