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Sarah Cowell LeMoyne

Jane E. Bartlett

American Art

This startlingly direct portrait is the work of Jane E. Bartlett, one of the many female students of the leading late nineteenth-century Boston portraitist William Morris Hunt. Bartlett’s sitter was an aspiring young actress named Sarah Cowell, who would make her New York debut the following year. Cowell’s forward-leaning and unflinching regard were all but unheard of in female portraits of the period. Painter and sitter were clearly unconventional women distinguished by their professional ambition. Cowell probably sat for Bartlett as a willing model rather than as a patron; Bartlett owned the portrait when it was exhibited in 1880 under the title A Friend.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
DATES 1877
DIMENSIONS 30 1/16 x 22 1/16 in. (76.4 x 56 cm) frame: 34 1/16 × 26 × 2 5/16 in. (86.5 × 66 × 5.9 cm)  (show scale)
SIGNATURE Inscribed verso upper center: "J.E. Bartlett--1877"
CREDIT LINE Gift of Mrs. A. Augustus Healy
PROVENANCE Prior to 1924, acquired from the artist by Mary Theodosia Currier of, Boston, MA; December 10, 1924, gift of Mary Theodosia Currier Healy (Mrs. Aaron Augustus Healy) of Cold Spring-on-Hudson to the Brooklyn Museum.
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MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Jane E. Bartlett (American, active ca. 1872–1899). Sarah Cowell LeMoyne, 1877. Oil on canvas, 30 1/16 x 22 1/16 in. (76.4 x 56 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. A. Augustus Healy, 24.84 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 24.84_PS11.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 24.84_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2022
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