Sunday, August 12, 2012

Maine painter Susan Marcia Oakes 1865-1914 looks at Dutch women & children

Yesterday I was looking at a posting on the blog American Gallery & saw this painting. I could not get it out of my mind, so I decided to post it for you this morning. It is about the hopeless tedium of life in the 19th century & before for many women.

Susan Marcia Oakes (American artist, 1865-1914) Mother and Daughter, Their Whole Life 1894

Maine painter Susan Marcia Oakes (1865-1914) was a student of painter Charles Woodbury in 1888, in Boston at his School Street studio. They were married in June 1890, & sailed to Europe in August to continue their art studies. Much of their married life was spent abroad in Holland. She is known for her studies of Dutch women & children. A memorial exhibition of Woodbury's work was held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in April, 1914.  While she portrayed the life of the Dutch women above with utter hopelessness, she also painted the Dutch children looking forward with some joy.

Susan Marcia Oakes (American artist, 1865-1914) The Procession, a Parade of Dutch Children

Oakes is an interesting American artist.  If you wish to learn more about her, a few of her sketchbooks & a journal, entitled "Bicycle Journey in Drenthe, September 2-27, 1895," are housed at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art in Washington DC.  The journal contains 50 pages of daily lengthy descriptive entries about the region, the people, paintings, & drawings made on the trip, the weather, and Woodbury's feelings. It is illustrated with numerous pencil sketches & contains small photographs of the people & the countryside. A sketchbook (1891-ca. 1898), ca. 25 pages, contains sketches of Dutch people done in Vollendam, Rotterdam, Dordrecht, & other locales. One page is labeled "Harwich, England, May 30, 1891." It also contains 17 loose sketches, mainly of young children. A sketchbook (1907), ca. 30 pages, made while Woodbury was in Holland contains sketches of Dutch children & notes with descriptions of buildings & clothing.